Oh hello mathcore, my old friend, it’s been quite some time since we’ve butted heads. I do very much love me some 2007-2009 mathcore and it was with great excitement that I began the journey of We Are All… by Minneapolis, MN genre smorgasbord The Atlantis Theorem. Though that excitement is still present, it is my duty to call out the faux pas that pass my already broken ears, and call out I shall.
Let’s get the foreplay out of the way. The Atlantis Theorem, although obviously dabbling in progressive and forward thinking musical stylings, bring a nostalgic miasma to the table circa mid 2000’s whilst the progressive metalcore (mathcore at the time) movement was budding at its brightest, taking huge pages out of the book of Protest the Hero. Yet the room is not steamy enough, as these cats may be imploring old playbooks, they’re still culminating in sounds very akin to those of more current bands like Monuments and the lesser known, Shrezzers, in terms of trying to fuse funky with furious. Follow all of that up with a little bit of Dance Gavin Dance tones and elations to tongue box your asshole with, and you’ve got TAT neatly packaged and ready to tickle your taint, only less of the neatly packaged part.
We Are All… has some strong attributes and is more than worth the listen, but also burdens itself with handicaps that keep it from hitting the upper echelons of shitty pundit scoring. The elephant in the room here is that this is a progressive band using funk mixing on early 2000’s mathcore tones and truly ZERO vocal mastering. Now someone is more than likely going to have a meltdown over my opinion here, so let me clarify. Even if there is any actual vocal mixing done, it truly doesn’t fucking sound like it. It SOUNDS like someone jacked the vocal track past the point of salvation and declared their job done. Meanwhile, the rest of the pieces that make this puzzle whole sit in the background vying for attention like one of the President of the United States of America’s children (I’ll let you guess which one). This isn’t to say that frontman Daudi Long isn’t a spectacular singer, but it is to say that from the very first swing of opening track, “Free,” this isolation doesn’t do justice to his brand of high end angelic progressive soul. That being said, a hat tip is definitely required further down the record on, “Forgotten (A Discovery),” wherein a more Brandon Boyd of Incubus aura is found was more fitting cumulatively.
The biggest message that TAT sport with regards to this record is their mission to display Minnesota talent, hence the ever so subtle name, and where I once again believe further mixing and board work could have been done to more prominently separate these individual talents (a saddening amount of which was rather difficult to find not only in their songs but via interwebbing I might add), I have to commend the utter nightmare it must have been to collaborate and compile these arts to this degree without label backing. Gorgeous moments can be found across this record, (See, “The Reason,” for example) but when the dust settles, this effort does have a heartbreaking tendency to drag which further inflames its engineering shortcomings. I truly want to love this record more, but I’ll settle for the chance that whatever comes in the future will hit closer to my prostate, which admittedly I’m usually pretty squeamish about.
Written by Jason Greenberg
*Edited by Anna Della Zazzera