I’ll be the first to admit it: sometimes a band hits my pet peeve nail so hard with their musical hammer that I can’t help but be meaner to them than they maybe deserve. In this case, the proverbial mallet comes in the form of Southampton metalcore outfit Parallaxis’ second release Dissonance.
Before I get into the rant and rave of why this record displeased me (i.e. the stuff that you as a reader are really here for, because all you want is to live other people’s pain and disappointment vicariously through the words of these reviews, you sick freak!), let’s talk about what the boys do well.
For starters, they can riff. The breakaway riff in the leadoff single “Home” is the stuff that proper circle pits are made of. Guitarists Ash Henbrey and Ben Stevens finish off their dizzy lick with a harmonized descending pattern that’s just lovely. Obvious influences like Bring Me the Horizon and Architects really shine through in their finger work. They also do dynamics very well, as evidenced by well-placed and well-contrasted soft to heavy transitions, like the lead-in to the final chorus of “Malice.” That song is also very, very catchy by the way.
Ok bro, let’s talk peeves. First of all, to me the electronic samples sound like they were highly inspired by David Draiman’s ill-advised, post-Disturbed industrial metal outfit Device’s first and only album and arbitrarily sprinkled over this one. They don’t really add much in terms of melody or cadence, they’re just kind of there. Spread on top of that are singer James Holt’s lyrics. “Today I woke up and I saw someone staring back at me with my own eyes” he sings on the ironically titled “Clarity,” and I’ll let you take away from that what you will. While he sings them fine, his melodies also fail to elevate the music to the next level the way that, say, Howard Jones’ might. Then there’re the drums; to me, the constant 4/4 cymbal and half time double-bass and snare combo sound like every metalcore record since Periphery and Animals as Leaders made it cool to sound like a computer plays drums for you. Dan Coombs is perfectly capable at what he does, but he could try to move with the rhythms provided by the guitar a little closer next time instead of trying to force them into his paradigm.
I’ll try to be brief here: this is a good record if you’re looking for something new to headbang to. It does seem for the most part that the band has loftier aspirations than that though, so if they re-evaluate their obvious skill and try to break out a little from the metalcore mould, they could make something really good.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Kate Erickson