Wednesday 21 December 2016

Review: As A Conceit - Frown Upon Us

Everyone can agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find new talent in today's modern metal scene. In recent years, there has been a huge rise in the number of so called 'metalcore' bands (half the time I think that people are misinformed as to what metalcore actually), with bands left, right and center ripping one another off, bringing nothing new or exciting to the table.

However, Italy based metal/hardcore quintet As A Conceit are far removed from the trends that plague the current metal scene. The band recently put out their debut album Frown Upon Us via Famined Records. The best way to describe their sound would be something that fits in between the style popularized by bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch with a mix of melodic passages. The fusion of hardcore and metal is quite astounding; the amount of talent these guys possess is utterly ludicrous at points, leaving listeners wondering what the hell just happened (and possibly whether the band can pull it off live; in answer to that, yes - they bloody well can).

Each of the ten tracks present on this disc (with a running time of just under 40 minutes) showcase the immense talent and songwriting skills of the band. The guitars especially are very interesting; album opener “Boneheads” is a rollercoaster of technical riffage and crazy time signatures. The drumming at first seems to follow no logical pattern but after one has become accustomed to this style of technical metal, the effects are astounding. The bass is also heard quite well - the lines do stick to the guitars quite a bit but at this pace and level of technicality, it is still downright impressive.

Guitarists utilize a huge array of techniques in their guitar playing; tapping is in abundance on this album but is always used tastefully. Album closer “A Should with a Must” highlights this wonderfully - the outro is simply splendid.

There is a strong metalcore influence throughout the album but don't let it deter you. Breakdowns are present but most definitely are not in abundance. “Hindered” and “Modern Day Heroes” are tracks that highlight this perfectly — the riffs used are incredibly catchy too.

The vocals are in pretty much the same style throughout. Fabio Bullo has a very competent scream and for the most part is quite understandable. But he does some really cool things with his voice.

What sets the band apart from most other Dillinger or Botch copycats is their inclusion of wonderfully epic melodic sections. The use of those dissonant Botch-esque chords are in full force (although not to the extent of a band like Norma Jean for instance) but songs switch from chaos to epic within seconds.

Overall, the band's debut album is nothing short of phenomenal. Every one of the ten tracks is excellent and a running time of 40 minutes is perfect. The metalcore scene may be plagued by some ridiculously poor acts, but acts such as As A Conceit demonstrate that the scene is far from bad.

A definite recommendation to any fan of technical metal, hardcore or metalcore.

Listen to "Frown Upon Us" on YouTube.

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