10 February 2014
by Gavin Lloyd
The once strong battle lines between pop and metal aren’t what they used to be. People are far less militant with their tastes in music. Rock club nights are as likely to play Skrillex as Limp Bizkit. It’s the reason why so many sub-par metalcore bands have turned their hand to bad dubstep. It’s no surprise that in certain quarters metal-meets-pop/R’n’B upstarts, Issues, are considered one of the buzziest new bands in the world right now.
Issues’ self-titled debut is that it isn’t as punchy or instant as you might expect. On first listen, songs such as opener ‘Sad Ghosts’ and ‘The Langdon House’ come across merely as the sort of shouty bit,/singy bit m0shcore being churned out by the rest of the Rise Records roster. But it’s an album that takes a few listens and a bit of investment to really get the most out of. It’s hardly like settling down and sticking on an eighty minute progressive black metal opus, but the subtly crafted nuances on offer often take a while to really appreciate, be it the subtly weaved electro, Tyler Carter’s vocal hooks, or the nu metal hat tips such as ‘Old Dena (By Scout)’ (which recalls Joe Hahn’s 2 and a half minutes of fame on Linkin Park’s ‘Cure For The Itch’).
Due to this it often feels like the band are holding back somewhat and it is when no fucks are given that the album really shines. ‘Stringray Affliction’ is a mosh anthem, while the pounding club-ready intro of ‘Late’ gives way to an irresistibly huge chorus, as does posi-banger ‘Never Lose Your Flames’. The album closer, ‘Disappear (Remember When)’ climaxes with a gospel choir, by far the most bonks idea on this album, but also providing one of the most gloriously uplifting moments you are likely to hear this year, be it in metal or otherwise.
It might not be the instant classic so many of their early supporters wanted it to be, but Issues’ debut offers a well-realised pop-metal crossover album to the generation who have both Bring Me The Horizon and Justin Timberlake on their iPods. Get used to the name because this band look like they are going to be everywhere over the next twelve months.
Sounds Like: We Came As Romans, Linkin Park, Jason Derulo
Standout Tracks: Late, Never Lose Your Flames, Disappear (Remember When)