Thursday 4 January 2018

Review: The Image You Claim - Painted Visions

Ah, Djent, thou art a fickle mistress. Ever since Meshuggah released their classic “Destroy, Erase, Improve”, legions of bands have been clamouring to follow in the footsteps of the polyrhythmic metal gods. Though California-based The Image You Claim do follow in the steps of the mentioned Swedish powerhouse, the six-piece also showcase a variety of different influences on their debut album “Painted Visions.”

Founded on the expected principles of overabundant polyrhythms, melodic-to-harsh vocals and atmospheric ambience combined with ultra-modern production techniques, TIYC is a band that should be closely watched by music fans all around the world.

“Painted Visions” is split into nine digestible songs (technically eight, as the closing song is an acoustic rendition of the preceding track). The music found on the album is typical Djent / Progressive Metal(core) affair, albeit with a fair amount of flair woven in. The polyrhythmic drumming, the jazzy chords, clean breaks and ambient sections so often displayed by Periphery and TesseracT are all present. The guitarists are in top form, providing both memorable, groovy riffs and unsettling melodies and arpeggios, seamlessly alternating between the two. The drumming alternately locks in with the guitars to power forward the band’s groove, or playing across and under the riffs in flurries of dead-accurate double kick. Surprisingly, bass is not lost in the mix. Instead, his bass brings a new element to the style. 

The songwriting too, is in top form. Presenting a slower, more epic version of the established Djent formula, “Painted Visions” weaves to and from, meandering through various sections and moods towards its inevitable climax and finale. The moody build-ups at times almost bring to mind the vintage work of post-rock moguls Sigur Ros.

The production on “Painted Visions” is, in one word, immaculate. The album is at the forefront of high-tech production. The guitars are clean and clear when they need to be, and heavy and groovy the next moment. The bass is highly audible, and at times even a tad funky, bringing a presence and dimension not often felt in records of this style. The drums sound heavy and hard, and carry the band with a boom and a thud. Ambient synths float in and out of the background, providing sufficient atmosphere but never taking over the recording.

“Painted Visions” shows a lot of promise from a band on the brink of extraordinary things, all wrapped up with epic songwriting tendencies and a great deal of talent. Thşs is a truly promising release, and if The Image You Claim continue to hone their style, they will no doubt become one of the genre’s most defining bands.

"Painted Visions" is available from Bandcamp.

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