Life in Your Way and Means…
Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2007 @ 8:18am » permalink
"Waking Giants" (on Solid State) is the first I've heard from Life in Your Way since their decent yet ultimately forgettable debut back in 2003, so I'm psyched that this album (their third) shows significant growth since that time. Still blending aggressive contemporary metalcore with emo-esque melodic attributes, the band's overall approach has taken a more powerful turn all around – from recording quality and performances to riffs and songwriting – resulting in a delivery that sounds, at least to my ears, sort of like Shai Hulud covering Further Seems Forever (if you can imagine that). They're more melodic than the former while (obviously) heavier than the latter, retaining the technical flare and energy found in each, so… hey, it makes sense to me! There are just a lot of subtle intricacies to the playing and arrangements: From speedy, explosive bursts of moderately technical dual guitar riffing to midpaced rhythms that utilize some great dissonant chords – as well as lush, droning effects and lighter fare (which is often interspersed with the more aggressive riffing to create a true fusion of influences and dynamics). And the vocals, of course, jump from super intense screaming to polished, high-quality singing. While I do prefer the sheer force of the screaming, it's all well presented within the context of the material, so I don't find the signing (which does fall into the minority) to detract from the impact of the album as a whole. As with most every Solid State release everything looks and sounds quite nice, too. I could probably stand for a hint more oomph in the recording department, but fuck it, I'm not complaining… it sounds pretty damn good across the board. Good stuff. I'll be curious to investigate their second record now, as well as waiting to see where they go from here. It's always awesome to see bands come into their own like this and progress to their full potential. Good stuff.
Life in Your Way "Reach the End"
Life in Your Way "We Don't Believe"
Make the grab if this your thing, downloading is for suckers:
@ Solid State
"Sending You Strength" is my first exposure to promising Canadian metalcore outfit Means, and in my opinion it's also the strongest release to date from Facedown Records. Their style is a diverse yet completely coherent form of contemporary metalcore that combines chugging heaviness and overt melody through numerous shifts in tempo and riffing, and in many respects I'd say their delivery is comparable to a not-quite-as-technical Misery Signals – just for reference. Though dominated by intense screaming, the vocal performance does run the gamut of screaming, shouting, speaking, and singing – but without sounding cheesy or "emo", which is great. They're shooting – and succeeding – to capture a memorable and energetic framework here, as opposed to trying to write songs that are "catchy" per se. It's not exactly inventive at this point in time, but they've got an extremely strong grasp on what they're doing, and those strengths are what really counts. There are some great passages where they let the four-piece lineup shine by allowing the basslines to play a very active role in countering some of the softer clean guitars and whatnot, while the heavier playing utilizes plenty of layered guitar interaction – from your basic chunky breakdown grooves to dissonant arpeggios, atypical chord phrasings, and winding pull-off runs. So while there are indeed subtle complexities going on, the focus remains on the quality of the songwriting, which is something that I wish more bands within this general realm would devote more attention to. The fact that they've also got a great recording certainly doesn't hurt. Everything sounds crisp and balanced, so I've got nothing but kind words in that department as well. I generally don't care for the style of cover art they've got going on here, to be honest, but there's something about the artwork that grabs my attention as well, I don't know… This is just a great record, and I'll be looking forward to hearing more.
Means "Looking For Life"
Pick one up if you dig the tracks:
@ Facedown Records
@ Very Distribution