Black Diamonds review by Issues

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  • Released: Nov 13, 2012
  • Sound: 5
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 5.7 Decent
  • Users' score: 6.6 (27 votes)
Issues: Black Diamonds

Sound — 5
Alright first off I'll say it up front, I am legitimately fond of a lot of Rise bands. This being said you can safely stay away from this record if you're not big on Rise-type metalcore. Don't waste your time if you're expecting any experimental riffing or technical playing.

Issues was founded earlier this year (2012) by former clean and unclean vocalists of Woe, Is Me Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn, respectively as well as by the Ferris brothers (also of Woe, Is Me). The Ferris brothers ended up dropping out of the project early on. The roster is rounded out by members of other lesser-known bands from the Atlanta area. The bad blood between Woe, Is Me and the members of Issues is something that created a pretty decent amount of hype around the band. Issues seemed to be a sort of comeback, or "in your face" attempt to get back at Woe, Is Me for whatever reason. Regardless of whether or not that's true I found myself intrigued from the start.

Alright on to the sound of the band. The heavy-aspect of the band is, as I said earlier, typical of a Rise metalcore act. Open note breakdowns are peppered throughout every song and make up the bulk of the guitar parts with the occasional brown-note section thrown in. There's also a lot of bending notes in a sort of "Djent without really being Djent" style. The choruses are also standard fare: chord progressions. Nothing new here, but the effect isn't terrible.

Issues really tries to define themselves by using dubstep, hip hop, and house beats. This is also nothing new to this genre, but I can see Tyler Carter's influence here. Tyler has a hip-hop solo career on the side. A lot of the songs have sections that sound kind of awkward and out of place. I feel like these sections were inserted to give Carter a chance to flex his hip-hop vocal muscles, and the end result is sporadic and less than satisfying. This is something that was, honestly, done more tastefully on Woe, Is Me's first album "Number[s]". I'd like to say that Issues hasn't really found its footing yet, but will hopefully carve out a more unique sound on future releases.

This is how I'm picturing the Issues studio sessions sounding like: Issues: "We gotta get heavy son! Show em what we got!"

"Yeah boi that riff is heavy, but we need more swag on this joint! Toss a tasty beat on that piece!"

Producer: "Uhh I think it sounds ok the way it is..."

Issues: "Nah son didn't you hear me? It's a banger but I said SWAG!"

Producer: "Alright I'll see what I can do..."

Lyrics — 7
It's hard to ignore Tyler Carter's vocal chops. He has always brought a unique sound to whatever genre of music he's performing in. His voice has a lot of soul and he's able to pull off vocal lines that most singer's wouldn't dream of. He does well on this EP but like I said earlier, his trancy hip hop breakdowns can sound awkward and out of place at times.

Michael Bohn has always been a consistent screamer. He can quite ably perform low, mid, and high screaming vocals but has always been overshadowed by the clean singers he's worked with. The best way to describe Bohn on this EP is that he does his thing. His delivery is as consistent as always. A guest appearance by Chris Fronzak (Fronz) of Attila is a nice change up on "Love. Sex. Riot." The lyrics are neither good nor bad, however, I was impressed that only one song is directed at Woe, Is Me (Woe, Is Me's entire album is basically an attack on the "haters".)

Overall Impression — 5
I've said it over and over again but this release doesn't do anything revolutionary by any means. My favorite song by far is "Love. Sex. Riot", but I'm an Attila fan. I'd like to say it's a decent first release but in reality I was pretty underwhelmed by everything about it. It may have been the hype but I actually had some expectations for this and it didn't really live up to any of them. It's not really a bad EP but I doubt I'll be listening to it in a month. Here's hoping that future releases bring something more to the table.

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I love metalcore. If its done right. But this is literally the most stereotypical post-hardcore band ive ever heard. Everything is predictable from riffs to vocals to the double bass patterns. I feel like itd be a much more respectable genre if some of these bands just thought outside the box a bit more.
    I agree with Headband123...I love metalcore, but I hate that shitty bands like this give the entire genre a bad name. There are some amazing metalcore bands out there. Some bands that come to mind are Oh Sleeper, Botch, Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, BTBAM, Protest The Hero, August Burns Red...good stuff made by guys who are truly passionate about their music. Not hardcore wannabees like these guys or Woe, Is Me
    Now this I agree to. Metalcore done right = actually good Crabcore, deathcore, electronicore = not so much...
    Actually, I take that back. Its still awful music though.
    I lvoe tyler carters voice but he either needs to pick his solo career up or join a better band. Hey emarosa doesnt have a vocalist! Neither does Saosin!
    I actually enjoyed this album. Yes they do mix metal and RnB, but hey why not try to push things forward. Sort of reminded me of Justin Timberlake and 36 Crazyfists mash up. Yes the novelty wears thin so glad it's just an EP. It would take some serious creativity and changes to make this work long form. Curious to see what they do next.
    The fact that this album promotes swag is enough reason to concoct a satisfying yet horrific gruesome-murder-shitlist of all the people involved with the creation of this album.
    I liked it. Nothing wrong with doing something different. Idk why but it seems like everyone is against change. I think this is just a taste of things to come, the full length will be more focused.
    Man, this is just awful. I just don't understand how bands are content releasing this kind of stuff still. Shouldn't have dragged Fronz into this junk, too.
    If they solidify their sound I could see this band becoming something, but this ep is just a tangled mess. At least it isn't as bad as Woe, Is Me's hateful, generic breakdown-fest
    you all hate this because you're all the typical egotistical guitar music for being music, says a drummer.
    oh hello is nu metal coming back? mix it up a little is good but christ the lyrical content leaves a lot to be desired.