Sound — 9
About 1 year ago, I was still in high school. The snow was melting, the temperature was increasing, the brown grass had begun flourishing and was growing again. It was spring. I saw the seasons come to fruition while in my culinary class; of course that's when I wasn't stowing myself on the 2 inch wide countertop attempting to sleep next to a cubbie.
My fellow upcoming guitar virtuoso friend Joey always played songs on his tablet, and on the occasion when I wasn't sleeping on the ground, I'd hear them. The songs were usually prog rock or prog metal, but this time was different. He asked the few people who weren't in the kitchen if they've heard Adestria before. He then played a sample of "Compromised." During the sample, something felt odd. My legs were going numb. I felt the darnest feeling in my trousers. The chair I was sitting in was sweating. I knew I had to hear more. After the week was over, I was waiting patiently to use the computer in my living room that Friday. When it was dark outside, I went to YouTube, and after waiting 3 minutes to contemplate searching them, I typed in Adestria. I listened to "Compromised," and I was hooked.
"Chapters" is the first album by Adestria. Not much is known about the band, other than they are from San Diego, California. They have previously made an EP which I will touch base on in the near future. "Chapters" is unlike any metalcore album ever released. Adestria puts metalcore and melodic death metal on the plate without the two genres ever making contact. That's until the synth brings all the elements together in a mystic and crushing package.
I can't get over how the guitars sound. Are guitarists Russell Klein and Brian Stump from space? They must be because their riffs are out of this world. Usually people listen to metalcore for the chugs and breakdowns but Adestria aims to change that with very prevalent lead sections. Even the soothing solos and ravaging riffs doesn't take away from the extreme chugging.
The drums also stick out by a supreme margin. Mike Yanez has outdone himself when it comes to drumming. Unlike most bands in the scene, Adestria is not afraid to use the blast beat. The blast beat is the magnum opus of hardcore punk when looking in perspective and really shows people what it means to be metalcore. Chris Hardison holds the bands sound on his shoulders while playing bass. Although not very audible, it really benchmarks their sound.
Adestria also dabbles into their electric side, with Mikey Colasardo exercising safe synth. Actually more along the lines of crazy synth use, ranging all the way from keys, strings & horns to even ghostly atmosphere. A turntable-like sound can even be heard occasionally.
The album begins with the song, "Compromised." Intense drumming and a sweet guitar lick leads a gripping blast beat, all within the first five seconds of the song. The album gets even crazier with "Whiskey for the Soul" featuring a staticky breakdown and cool effects. Immediately following the song is "The Odyssey," which is angry throughout, with a nice end section. "Chapters" is filled with a lot more that I can't find the words to describe.
Lyrics — 9
While the sound of "Chapters" is already top-notch, the lyrics really bring each song to fruition. Matt Anderson knows how to express his thoughts to the song while also being sonically stunning. The lyrics cover a barrel of topics without relying on cliches. "Whiskey on the Soul" talks about a town being shot up. "1984" is, well, about 1984 (which might appeal to those freedom fighting types like myself). "This Ship, A Coffin" details the lonely life of a captain as he walks the plank.
Matt Anderson is the best kept secret in the scene. His voice is essentially audible crack; It only takes one listen and you'll listen for life. His angry low to mid range yell really pages his intense high growl, tearing his larynx for 10 songs, very reminiscent of the golden age of metalcore and melodeath. No matter how brutal he is, Matt Anderson is not without his soft side. He's not afraid to employ clean vocals, which he uses on most of the songs. His cleans shine in the soothing ballad "More Than You Know."
A word of caution is they're very polarizing if you haven't heard them before. I could've sworn he was using autotune the first three times I listened to this album. Even how skilled he is, Matt isn't afraid to show humility, with the help of Telle Smith of The Word Alive, and Scott Barnes of In Fear And Faith. Where are they featured? Do they compare to Matt Anderson? Listen to find out.
Overall Impression — 10
"Chapters" really adheres to a time where metalcore was emotional, exciting, and a bit melodramatic. Whether it's the help of a shining solo, or a synthesizer telling the story instead of the traditional instruments, or just testing the limits of the larynx, "Chapters" aims to be at the top of your most played list. I'm really surprised to see the musicianship with this album, considering it's their first.
Their are only 10 songs on "Chapters," and their usually in the three minute or four minute range. Adestria really knows how to make time longer (or shorter if you're having too much fun). I can't even pick songs to recommend because every song on this album is fantastic. The most traumatic song on "Chapters" is "Defy the Stars," which you should only listen to if you own a pair of sunglasses. No one needs to look at a grown man crying to metalcore.
Unfortunately, "Chapters" comes at a cost. This album was stolen, by me. Just kidding, this is a band that you want to invest in. Seriously, keep "Chapters" under wraps and don't tell anyone you have it, they'll want a listen, too.