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156/Silence - Undercover Scumbag

Undercover Scumbag
by Erik Aikos at 24 October 2018, 10:16 AM

156/SILENCE are an american Metalcore group from Pittsburgh. After an EP release, and two singles, they released their first full-length this year on September 14th, however, being an LP doesn’t amount to much in terms of length. "Undercover Scumbag” capping at 23 minutes. And even though I really enjoyed the record, its 23-minute length is the one thing saving it from being "above average”, enabling me to say it’s a legit good piece of music.

The first two tracks ("156” and "Fake It”) function as a taste of things to come; a sample of the band’s stylistic directions within the record (although they are definitely my two favourite songs on this whole thing). "Saving, Saved” is what I consider the official starting point of the LP. That track I was certain was my least favorite, but by my third listen, it had kind of grown on me. Especially when I noticed it’s the only song here that’s genuinely emotionally fueled (mostly because of the vocal delivery), which makes it unique in its context.

Speaking of vocals, let me just say that I – as someone who aspires to be a harsh vocalist –  I really want my screams to sound like Jack Murray’s. Easily one of my favorite metal vocalists, and the production does much to amplify his already amazing vocal quality. The mix is perfectly balanced, there’s a good amount of "distance” between the instruments, so it’s not just a clusterfuck of musical parts that are barely audible individually. You can actually hear and distinguish the instrumental components and notice how they play into and with each other. Of course, that wouldn’t be worth shit if the songwriting wasn’t good. But thanks to the band’s unpredictable, yet accessible style, I could wholeheartedly recommend the album to fans of Hardcore Punk, Second or Third-Wave Metalcore fans and even to people who want to get into the heavier side of metal. Don’t expect neither the Number Twelve Looks Like You fucked up end of the spectrum, or the later Of Mice & Men type of tamer, radio-friendly one. Rather, it's a perfect balance, both with sound-design, and with composition.

Honestly, the only negative I can bring up is those glitchy, drawn-out beeping noises, they’re so overused in the second half that I couldn’t help but facepalm every single time I heard them. And while we’re at the second half, the only track in it that wasn't a drop in quality compared to the first is "Face Value”. The rest are kind of boring towards the end and if this record would be 2 or 3 tracks longer, it would greatly damage the quality of it.
Overall, this album is pretty good.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. 156
2. Fake It
3. Saving, Saved
4. Undercover Scumbag
5. Wasted Potential
6. Demonetized
7. Face Value
8. Indecent Exposure
Jimmy Howell - Guitar
Ryan Wilkinson - Guitar
Jack Murray - Vocals
Record Label: Innerstrength Records


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Edited 03 March 2021

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