Friday, June 29, 2012

Confide - Recover


I know that many people have given up on screamo and have moved on to other areas of metal due to the sharp decrease in quality and originality the genre has taken over the past four years or so. And that’s completely understandable because even I have become less interested in screamo over time. But since I haven’t TOTALLY lost interest in that style of music, I still listen to some of my old favorites (Underoath, The Word Alive, Alesana, I am Ghost, etc.) and occasionally check to see what fresh new bands have recently risen from the undergrounds. Not only have I been doing this in screamo, but also in metalcore; which has led to countless disappointments and more supporting evidence of screamo and metalcore’s decrease in creativity and originality. Well, I’m here today to shine some light on the subject for those of you with a screamo band that more or less represents the diamond in the rough, Confide.

I’ve had this album on my computer for a little over a year, which was right when I was really starting to get pissed off at the screamo genre due to the recent releases of Attack Attack!, Vampires Everywhere, Enter Shikari, and many others. Oh, and yes, I am fully aware that the old Confide drummer is now the drummer for Avenged Sevenfold. And I also know that he is NOT on this particular album, which is somewhat unfortunate because this is Confide’s best release.

I’ve become EXTREMELY picky when it comes to screamo, because in the condition the genre is currently in, only the BEST of the BEST deserve my credit. So here are things that I feel make up a credible screamo band: a vocalist that has a strong, clean, high-pitched scream and a good, deep growl (if he/she growls). The singing has to be PRISTINE and above-average with no auto-tune (although I know that some bands like I See Stars use auto-tune for effect to fit the music, so that’s an understandable exception since the singer has already expressed his ability to sing great without it). The songs need to have plenty of variety and body; which means MORE THAN JUST SIMPLE BREAKDOWNS! Yes, I know that the breakdown is a huge part of the screamo genre, but there seriously needs to be more to it than just that. The drummer has to have excellent kick drumming skills (i.e. Asking Alexandria, Underoath, etc.), and the guitarists and bassist need to play more than just really low chords. This is (for me) what makes up a good screamo band.

But, of course, a band can be REALLY strong in any one of those areas to the point where it makes up for any of the areas where the band lacks. Like for example, Alesana’s screamer…well…sucks. But the extreme color and creativity that Alesana expresses in their music as well as the musicianship makes up for the crappy screaming. Confide is a screamo band that is strong in every single one of the areas I listed above. The last time I came across a band like that was when I was introduced to The Word Alive in early 2010 when I saw them open for Alesana (and yes it’s completely coincidental that I just used Alesana as an example before).

Confide’s music is very traditional and doesn’t add in any extra instruments or sounds to make it extremely unique and recognizable (like keyboards, orchestral sounds, etc.). But this is probably because the band realized that they didn’t need any of that in this album because it was already more than good enough. If they put anything extra in this album, the music would most likely sound overdone and that there’s too much going on at once, which has proved to end up disastrous in previous accounts. But there isn’t only a good side to the simplicity of this record, there’s also a bad side. And that bad side is that the music is less memorable and has less of a recognizable sound. Confide is one of the only good screamo bands that I can think of that doesn’t have a specific trait that no one else has. The only thing that I can think about them is that they’re very well-rounded, skilled, creative, and energetic.

The screaming sounds SOMEWHAT unique. But then again, there are much more recognizable screamers out there (Spencer Chamberlain, Austin Carlie, post-2010 Caleb Shomo, etc.), but the vocalist for Confide isn’t any more unique than Danny Worsnop or Beau Bokan. Although his screaming isn’t the least bit unique, it still sounds very crisp and has a very strong sound. The singing is also not unique in any way, but still has great range and has a beautiful sound.

Ok, let’s talk about the music itself. One thing that I look for in screamo (and metalcore) bands is how they put together their breakdowns. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just sick and tired of the simplistic traditional breakdowns. Of course I still enjoy the breakdowns in the older records I’ve listened to for years, but starting in late 2011, simplistic breakdowns cause albums to get lower scores in my reviews. The breakdowns in THIS album aren’t SUPER simple, but they’re definitely not totally new. Listen to the first song, which completely blew me away in my first listen. The song opens with some traditional electronics which then drops an extremely heavy non-traditional breakdown that has a fucking shitload of power and ambient harmonizing guitars that give it audible color. The screams and growls during that one part enhance the moment to create an intro that almost instantly confirmed that this was going to be a great album.

Once that song was over, I was purely amazed. After several painful months of listening to countless disgustingly horrible new screamo bands and records, this album left me so relieved that I actually gained a little bit more respect for the genre, thanks to Confide. But the awesomeness doesn’t end there! The music goes from heavier tracks that can be considered heavy metalcore to softer tracks that can be described as “calming chaos”. The sound quality of the record is perfect and couldn’t be any better. And finally, the sound that the album delivers never gets old. Of course, if the band were to re-unite and make a duplicate record, I wouldn’t be that impressed. But the lineup of members and the sound they create in this album is all that I need from this band. The drummer’s kickdrumming is amazing and EXTREMELY tight with the rest of the band. If you’re hoping for a screamo record that’s a diamond in the rough, get Recover by Confide. I would give this album 18/20.