Album: All We Have
Label: Long Branch Records
Release Date: January 17th, 2020
For Fans Of: Aviana, Above Below, The Northern
Metalcore is an interesting genre in which you can very easily see the different trends in popular styles just by looking at the records being released at a certain period of time. Back in the early 2000’s, the genre was kicking off with metallic hardcore and melodic metalcore ala Converge and Killswitch Engage for example whereas the latter half of that decade came the scenecore bands as in Asking Alexandria, Attack Attack! *insert crabcore band here* that ultimately gave the genre a bad rep. Those scenecore groups were all a product of their time and if those same records were released today, they would not be received very well. Regardless, the subgenre continued on and over the past several years, the popular trend has become atmospheric progressive metalcore and djent. One could argue that there is a metallic-hardcore revival currently going on as well within the genre and I am all for that. Regarding the atmospheric and ambient metalcore, Italian metalcore band Prospective fall right into the wave of bands going for that pseudo-prog sound with their new record, All We Have.
Being a huge progressive music fan, it always irks me when bands, especially metalcore bands, label their music as progressive just because it has some complex and technical riffs, spacey tapping passages, and unpredictable djenty breakdowns; none of this necessarily makes a band’s music progressive or not, but it appears that many people misunderstand that. Progressive music pushes the envelope when it comes to making new arrangements of sounds and musical experiences, overall elevating the music to a whole new level beyond just music. Most of these pseudo-prog bands follow the same formula as done by their counterparts. For example, Silent Planet, Periphery, The Human Abstract, Protest the Hero, Crystal Lake,and Oceans Ate Alaska are bands that I consider progressive metalcore bands; they all sound incredibly unique and take the relatively stale genre to a different level doing things the genre hasn’t seen before. Whereas bands like Polaris, Thornhill, and Aviana just to name a few, are similar “prog”-core bands that are without a doubt good at what they do, but again the music from these bands sounds really similar in the grand scheme of things. I am not saying that metalcore bands must be truly progressive to sound good, but it is just inaccurate to call metalcore bands that rely solely on techy riffs and the the bottom few strings on 7-string guitars to be considered progressive in any way as it discounts the work that other progressive bands put into their music, at least to me. Alright, I am stepping off my soapbox now, onto the music itself.
Unfortunately, Prospective falls into the category of bands that are hopping on the “progressive” metalcore trend by recycling these old tropes that have been done countless times already. Overall, the music heard on All We Have is pretty solid, but it just doesn’t draw me to listen to it to any degree. There are plenty of similar bands that make the same kind of music but do it so much better, just look at Erra, Kingdom of Giants, and Currents for example. Despite the lack of any desire to listen to this record voluntarily, the instrumentation is very clean, heavy, and atmospheric where it needs to be. The riffs are complex, the breakdowns are chunky, and the leads are as smooth as butter. Unfortunately, it appears that the bass guitar just mimics whatever chugging the rhythm guitar is providing and that never fails to disappoint me. Each instrument is a tool ready at the bands disposal to provide something unique, but in this record, among countless others, the sole purpose of the bass is to simply add more low end, which is a shame when so much more can be achieved with slightly more effort in regards to the writing.
The harsh vocals remind me of Daniel Winter-Bates from Bury Tomorrow, which are great and obviously compliment the thick and meaty instrumentation. It really makes up for how the clean vocals sound, especially since most of my distaste for this record comes from the clean vocals. I personally enjoy all timbres of sung vocals, even high-pitched vocals, bands like Erra, Periphery, and Veil of Maya for example all nail those higher pitched vocals and it fits the music quite well. At many points on this record, like on the chorus for Liar and Against All Odds, just to name a couple, the clean vocals sound like nails on a chalkboard. They take away any enjoyment, as minor as it was, that I had from that specific track. Regarding the clean vocals, it is quite similar to that of the new Invent Animate single with their new vocalist; the cleans on that single are quite polarizing and hold the rest of the music back. Back to Prospective, the combination of the extremely high-pitched vocals and the weird vocal patterns in those specific choruses just don’t sound pleasant at all to be brutally honest. The following title track has sung vocals layered in the background with harsh vocals that actually sounds really good and it is quite effective for the sound that the band is going for, especially with the subtle fluttering electronics in the background; this is easily the strongest track on the record as the clean vocals actually add to the music here rather than plaguing it. I really wish they would’ve played more with the vocal layering and the electronics because they’re onto something there. Although more laid-back, Losing Control and Dust and Memories have a much more tolerable use of clean vocals with much stronger phrased choruses. The back half of the record is more listenable, but I still am not in love with the songs by any means with the exception of the title track. My overall enjoyment of this record was really hindered due to my pickiness on the clean vocals, so take this all with a grain of salt.
All We Have is a solid record despite my gripe with the clean vocals. With that being said, everything about it is your run-of-the-mill-wannabe-prog metalcore. If you’ve been in the loop of all things metalcore, then this record is honestly nothing new nor does it boast anything truly exciting. To this date, the genre continues to become even more vastly over saturated with bands that are just doing things that other bands are already doing or already have done; the cycle perpetuates itself. Given the countless records coming out in this golden era of music, I can confidently say that there is always going to be something that I would much rather listen to, even within the same genre, as opposed to returning to this record for another mostly forgetful spin.
- Kill Me
- Alone I Stand
- Against All Odds
- All We Have
- Losing Control
- Dust and Memories
- Nobody’s Safe
Total Playing Time: 36:25