Sound — 9
I See Stars is one of the newer hardcore/electronica hybrid bands out there. Their debut full length, entitled 3D, was released in April of this year. The band is made up of two guitarists, lead singer, drummer, bassist, and synth/screamer. The sound that this band has some might call a bit cliche for the genre of electronicore or synthcore or whatever you choose to refer to it as. There is heavy autotuning in some songs and just little enough in others to be considererd "cheating" somewhat in my book. But, that aside, I heavily enjoyed, and am still enjoying this album, it is impossibly catchy. The vocals are catchy, the guitars are catchy and the synth lines are very catchy. The guitar tones used on this album I heavily enjoyed and am interested in pursuing a similar tone for my guitars. The songs contain many many dancable beats, with some breakdowns splashed in there. The overall sound that the band has is unique, despite using some of the standard cliche's of their genre.
Lyrics — 8
Many of the songs on this album refer to political themes, which is somewhat different for the genre where the usual standard lyrical content is basically christian lyrics or emotional/relationship lyrics. Their themes, while different, don't really hit home and aren't very convincing, at least in my opinion. The lead singer, Devin Oliver, who sings the clean and autotuned vocals does a fantastic job with the lines on this album. They flow amazingly with the rhythms of the guitars and are one of the highlights of the album. The screamed vocals are also extremely catchy and intense at times. The band's screamer on the album, Zach Johnson (who is no longer with the band), is very unique in his screaming techniques and is very interesting to listen to. Overall, the lyrics I'm not that fond of, but the vocals themselves are the highlight of the album.
Overall Impression — 8
Compared to other artists of this genre, such as Attack Attack!, Sky Eats Airplane, or Breathe Carolina, I See Stars certainly has their own unique place in the scene. The standout songs on the album would have to be The Common Hours, Save the Cheerleader, The Big Bad Wolf, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and What this Means to Me. The highlights of ths album, as I've said before, would definitely have to be both the clean and screaming vocals, but the guitars also have some extremely cool moments. I will definitely continue to listen to this album and thoroughly enjoy it.