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If I Were You - Inner Signals Award winner

If I Were You
Inner Signals
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 December 2018, 11:26 AM

IF I WERE YOU just released their single “Fraud” off of their highly anticipated fourth full length studio record, “Inner Signals.” The band is all about self-reflection and perspective. “The idea of being able to take a step back and gain perspective of your inner most thoughts and emotions is what drives the creative process for us,” says drummer/vocalist/producer Randy Pasquarella. The band is set to release “Inner Signals” on December 18, 2019, and we have the advance promo here for review. I have over 3,600 band “likes” on Facebook, but this is the first time I am discovering this quartet from Poughkeepsie, NY. But, I like Metalcore, so let’s get down to the review.

“Paralysis” opens the album, with light electronica, followed by a heavy riff and some overall chaos. The quickened pace is maddening, leaving room in between the heavy strikes for some background ambiance. A dissonant passage just before the second chorus leads to dual clean vocals. “Defeated” is heavy and punchy out of the gates, with a tough and aggressive sound. It’s quite dark in scope, and stays there throughout. The slower breakdown swirls with electronica and it sounds like pulse waves from outer space. “Lost” opens with bright clean guitar notes and a positive energy. The dual cleans in the chorus are executed with fervor and are crystal clear. It slows a bit towards the end, dragging out raw emotions from the listener.

“Hallowed” wastes no time being angry and aggressive, with dissonant guitar chords and an overall feeling of hatred. The guitar riff pounds you over and over, leaving no time for much else, but the clean vocal passage is quite bright. “Faithless” is another song that goes for your throat right from the start, with raging vocals and heavy, weighted guitars. He cleans in the chorus provide some relief, but it doesn’t last long. The lead guitar notes ring out brightly overtop the heavy bed of riffing. “Broken” features I SEE STARS’ Devin Oliver, and opens with some light keys before diving deep into an aggressive and weighted Metalcore sound. Going for broke, vocalist Kyle Strang doesn’t let up. Dual clean vocals some in nicely in the chorus, proving some contrast. Guitarist Conklin really lays down some great riffs, and the bass and drums are perfectly placed. The light electronica following the second chorus gives pause for some reflection, but the raging vocals soon return, angrier than ever.

“Deceived” opens with a heavy groove and something that gets your blood going. Clean vocals in the poignant verses give way to deep and dark harsh vocals and then it’s back to the cleans in the chorus. Delicate melodies abound in this song, in a push and pull between hope and despair. “Empathy” is another track and makes good use of the extremes of the genre, heavy and aggressive at one point, and introspective and thoughtful at others. The vocals rage but the melody is still there underneath it. “Anxiety” hits hard from the start, with heavy, punchy rhythms and djenty guitars, alongside angry vocals. Some background electronica fits neatly into the dark themes of the song, as it pulses forward.

“Fraud” opens with a punchy rhythm from down-tuned guitars, which hit the accents hard, then comes the clean guitars. A feeling of euphoria rushes over me as the heaviness of the song inevitably hits. “Vanquished” gets you head nodding and feat stomping out of the gate. It has a very dark sound fueled by raging vocals and heavy riffing. It has a particular rhythm as well, something unique from the rest of the album. You feel beat up when it’s over. “Mourning” is the closing track. It builds slowly at the start, using various rhythmic parts and some background electronica to form a hard structure that breathes with melody in the chorus, ending in a pretty piano sequence with the slow fade-out of a clock.

Being able to translate raw emotion into the musical medium is a tough thing to do, but that is exactly what IF I WERE YOU have done here with “Inner Signals.” It’s a sophisticated blending of all that the genre has to offer, hung out to dry, leaving no stone un-turned. The musicianship is extremely sharp. At times you feel empowered to punch holes in the walls, while other times it reduces you to be reflective of your most inner fears and inadequacies. They have poured their heart and soul into each and every track, and it shows. When you think of modern Metalcore, THE AMITY AFFLICTION and WAGE WAR immediately come to mind, but today it’s time to make a place for IF I WERE YOU.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Paralysis
2. Defeated
3. Lost
4. Hallowed
5. Faithless
6. Broken
7. Deceived
8. Empathy
9. Anxiety
10. Fraud
11. Vanquished
12. Mourning
Lineup:
Kyle Strang – Vocals
Randy Pasquarella – Drums/Vocals
Daniel Conklin – Guitar
James Russell – Bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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