Friday, 20 May 2016

Issues: 'Headspace' Album Review

It’s a pretty rare occurrence to find two extremes meeting, it’s an even rarer occurrence to find them meet to a success. For Issues, introducing RnB infused vocals to bass heavy metal is something they have done to overwhelming success in the last four years. From debut EP Black Diamonds to their self-titled debut full length record (which entered the Billboard 200 at number 9) Issues’ ascension up the ranks of the metal-core scene has been hard to miss.

With new record ‘Headspace’ the quartet have returned with their most variety heavy offering to date. From choirs, to DJ styled disc scratching, to ambient instrumentals; this album is as unpredictable as it is a pleasure to listen to.

From a strictly musicianship sense however, bassist Skyler Acord remains ever-present on this record, the heavy, grinding riffs throughout the album from the bass slapper give the songs a feel of sneer and grit, which when met by the stunning melodic vocals of lead singer Tyler Carter make for effortless excellence.

As with previous Issues releases, it is Carter who is the shining star here, but with ‘Headspace’ it seems as if the front-man has taken a further step forward. Songs such as ‘Home Soon’ ‘Rank Rider’ and ‘Made To Last’ are all centred around the vocalists all-consuming choruses, which give the band more of a “radio friendly” sound than they have previously had before, yet at the same time are catchy, fitting and are borderline impossible not to sing along to.

‘Yung & Dum’ is a song that tells the tale of Issues within the space of 3 minutes, it’s filled with bounce, heart, attitude and care-free lyrics such as “Throw your hands in the air, and go stupid like you just don’t care” which show the quartet aren’t here to give thought provoking lyricism, but instead exist to give the masses that fine line between heavy and straight up rhythm.

There are moments on the record where Issues step too far away from strictly metal-core, and it is to the detriment of not just the band, but also of heavy vocalist Michael Bohn, whose role seems to have diminished somewhat in this record. ‘Coma’, ‘Flojo’ and ‘Hero’ all tend to crawl through the motions without any real hooks or bite and leaving a feeling of “Is that it?” Which somewhat under exposes Bohn, with his performance never quite reaching the scathing heights of 2014’s self-titled release.

Bookends to the record ‘The Realest’ and ‘Slow Me Down’ although totally different equally encapsulate the band in their perfect elements. With the former a rap filled jam with an insatiable chorus and the latter hitting a more high scale, arena ready, anthemic sound, both are two completely different ends of the spectrum and it’s a spectrum that Issues seem at home no matter the side they’re on.

‘Headspace’ is a record that in a sense, isn’t for those looking for a musical or lyrical masterclass. It very much does what it says on the tin. Those who are already a part of the Issues fandom will know what to expect here, for those that aren’t; expect high quality, high octane and a vocalist in Tyler Carter that you will never want to stop listening to.

Facebook: /issuesofficial
Twitter: @issues

Fuel Rock Club

Fuel Rock Club
Cardiff's Only Dedicated Rock & Metal Bar and Club