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Released: Feb 18, 2014
Genre: Metalcore, R&B, Pop
Label: Rise Records
Number Of Tracks: 12
In their debut self-titled album, ex-Woe, Is Me members combined metalcore with R&B and pop music and took a new name - Issues.
JacobyDB, on march 04, 2014 1 of 11 people found this review helpful
Sound: Issues was formed in the summer of 2012 from ex-clean and unclean vocalists of Woe, Is Me, Tyler Carter, and Michael Bohn. They released their debut EP titled "Black Diamonds" on November 1, 2012. It was a mix-up of metalcore, electronicore, rap and even a dash of R&B. It was a success and their new self-titled album is even better than then its predecessor. Brian Kraus of the Alternative Press says, "This is the future of metalcore." and I couldn't agree more. "Issues" is packed full of the unique vocals of Tyler Carter and the always impressive screams of Michael Bohn. They make use of electronics and synthesizers and only adds to the overall greatness of the classic metalcore breakdowns. // 9
Lyrics: For the lyrics... they are creative, original and far from the standard of the thousands of other bands out their in this genre. One of the things that make the songs unique are Tyler's signature voice and ability to incorporate rap with Michael's high energy screams. Add some electronic beats and some somewhat reused guitar riffs (one of my few complaints) and you got yourself a good collection of songs. One of the more popular songs on the album "Stingray Affliction" is described comically at times "dope" by a few people I have seen on forums and is a more simple way of saying it's a very good song.
My favorite song personally is "Never Lose Your Flame." It's just down right catchy on the chorus and you can't help but sing along. It even has a bit of a "pop" feel in it at times. But then when your getting comfortable with the pop they throw some of Michael's screams at you... which only adds to the beauty of the song.
Tyler's singing is better than ever and he delivers yet again just as he had with Woe, Is Me. // 9
Overall Impression: I would compare Issues to I See Stars (also have wrote a review on them), they both make use of electronic beats, synthesizers and keyboards. Although I See Stars does focus more dubstep into their breakdowns. The most impressive song to me on it was the previously mentioned "Never Lose Your Flame." It's just a very very good song.
Pros: - Raising metalcore to a new level. - Tyler's singing and Michael's screams have never been better. - Very original lyrics for the majority of the album.
Cons: - Somewhat overused guitar patterns. - A little off balanced for cleans and screams. Kinda around Tyler-60, Michael-40.
If it were stolen, yes I would buy it back in a hurried manner. It isn't an overstatement if you say "this is the future of this genre," Issues certainly is bring a new element into the bland metalcore genre. I can't wait to see where they go from here. // 9
vppark2, on march 04, 2014 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Hopefully you've done your research already and have known what this band is comprised of and that this is their debut album. "Black Diamonds" EP was released back in 2012, so here we are in 2014, the band improves. For the most part, Michael Bohn's vocals have gotten even better, the synths/turntables are cooler, and at times, in songs such "Disappear (Remember When)" Tyler's singing really shines. Guitar, bass and drums I wouldn't necessarily say have gotten that much better since "Black Diamonds," but it really isn't terrible, like it sort of was then. However, when putting all of these instruments as a sound together, at times, the synthesizers/turntables just seem to be there or in the way. The singing comes off as cheesy, especially in the choruses of some songs. // 6
Lyrics: "Sad Ghost," the first track off the album probably has my favorite lyric:
"I'll write a letter to my former self Dear Sad Ghost, why'd you put your heart on a shelf?"
"Mad at Myself" has a chorus that sounds very fitting for top 40 radio. The band themselves has commented that wanted to mix metal and "Top 40" music in the same way that nu-metal mixed heavy metal music with hip hop music. "Life of a Nine" has got to be the coolest track from the album. The synths are really cool, but what I really love are how Tyler belts out:
"She's a mother f--king five living the life of a nine And thinking that she's a bad b-tch Trick is so selfish."
"Late" has got to be the biggest turn off, for me at least. Autotuned vocals are noticeable right off the bat, and cheesy synths make it seem like something Chris Brown would write. Sadly, this definitely sounds like a song that would get played in clubs. It's also the first song without unclean vocals and heavy guitars.
"Stingray Affliction" has some of the worst lyrics I've ever heard, especially from Michael's part:
"He's so hardcore when he's running his mouth There's always gonna be that f--king guy."
I do like how near the end of the song, Tyler gets into R&B mode, but that's about the only cool thing to point out. "Never Lose Your Flames" has a chorus that will get a crowd jumping. The thing is, I hate how the lyrics are cut off into a different line.
"If you got the keys then start the car and Drive as far as you can If you got the blood then you got the heart to Give yourself a chance."
"The Settlement" has to be the perfect example of a song where I did not want to hear Tyler's vocals whatsoever, especially during the chorus. I mean who wants pop/R&B when the riffs are heavy, and the lyrics are angsty. For example, 2nd stanza from Michael:
"Closed doors can only hide so much Pacing through this hallway, I listen in disgust As you divide my mind and force my years into minutes Destroy the hands of time, the hands that made me whole."
"Disappear (Remember When)" surprisingly is the song where I was most impressed by Tyler's vocals. This song literally described my ever mood last night. Tyler yells:
"But I'm a selfish broken heart And now I've got this far Cope me with the thought of holding you a minute longer in my arms."
The song ends with a choir singing the chorus line. And voila, the album has ended. // 5
Overall Impression: When comparing this album, you're going to have people comparing it to other Rise bands, and also people pointing out how the singing sounds like Justin Bieber. If that was true, then Issues would sound much worse. And although, I hate to admit it, this album does somewhat compare to Falling In Reverse's "Fashionably Late," but only because they took a bunch of genres together to make an album. Issues did this much better, but there is still a lack of what exactly they want to be known as, and what they want to be. They're touring Warped Tour for the 2nd year in a row, so I'm sure they will be as successful as ever, eventually. They bring in quite a number of nu-metal influences, in which I hear Korn, Limp Bizkit, and P.O.D. They do a much better job than some other metalcore acts, such as Of Mice & Men did recently on their latest album. My favorite songs on this album are "Life of a Nine," "The Langdon House," "Personality Cult," and "Disappear (Remember When)." This album is actually a surprisingly solid effort, despite some of the flaws I pointed out, this album will be a great standout for its genre, and make for itself on the Rise roster. // 7
a7xb4d, on march 05, 2014 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Issues first came to light in 2012 with "Black Diamonds," an EP aimed at mixing several types of electronic music with metalcore. That being said, if that doesn't sound appealing you may want to look at a different review. This is a band that not only does that, but really embraces it. On their self titled album, Issues returns with all the poppy hooks, heavy guitars, and disc-scratching goodness that characterized the first EP. Comprised of Tyler Carter (clean vocals), Michael Bohn (unclean vocals), Skyler Acord (bass), Ty Acord AKA Scout (synths and discs), AJ Rebollo (guitar), and Josh Manuel (drums), Issues was looking to make a strong debut with their self-titled. The album is a strong debut, and it is really interesting to listen to how the band managed to mix Top 40 music with a seemingly completely opposed genre. The best example of this on the album is probably "Late," which opens with a soothing melody by Tyler Carter, accompanied by Scout's synthesizers that gets picked up by Rebollo's guitar and eventually Michael Bohn's screaming in the second verse. This makes a both extremely catchy and satisfyingly heavy track (although it is certainly not the heaviest on the record).
Scout does a masterful job on this album with mixing synthesizers and turntables into the mix to create a sound that Issues can call their own. While the whole electronica mixed with metalcore thing has already been done several times, Issues' spin on it really is a unique sound. The synths and turntables don't seem to be just thrown in to make the band sound unique, but instead fit in really well with the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals to make cohesive and memorable songs. The guitar parts aren't elaborate, but they move around enough to not be mixed in with bands that rely solely on chugging and breakdowns to fill in their songs. With everything else that's going on in the songs, solos and super-technical playing might just be overwhelming to the listener. The real focus on this album is the combination of sounds, and Issues combines several different sounds very well. However, there are a few hiccups that sound a bit cheesy (Tyler Carter's "Why do I do-do-do-do-do" in "Sad Ghost" is a real standout). The band makes up for this in songs like "Life of a Nine," which really shows the full aggression and capability of the band. // 8
Lyrics: Issues' lyrics are not the strongest part, nor the weakest part of this album. There are several standout moments on this albums in terms of content. One of these is in the beginning of "The Settlement": "Until death used to mean something more/ Than a proverb framed on the walls of a broken home." There's also some less impressive moments, like in "The Langdon House": "Stupid is as stupid does/ We're like an offspring of stupidest and always will be mad in luck." These only show the respective extremes of the lyrical quality of the album, which is pretty decent. While nothing to shy away from, the lyrics of this album do leave a little to be desired. Both vocalists, however, display god amounts of talent in each of their parts. Tyler Carter has quite an impressive vocal range and Michael Bohn does a great job screaming. If you're looking for a band with a lot of talent in terms of vocals, Issues would be a good place to start. // 6
Overall Impression: While "Black Diamonds" seemed very experimental like it was testing the waters, Issues' self-titled album shows the band really embracing the sound they established in the months after the EP. "Late" displays how the band can get a melody stuck in your head, while "Life of a Nine" shows that this is definitely a band committed to heavy music. "Never Lose Your Flames" and "Stingray Affliction" show a really bipolar yet cohesive sound. Issues have made it clear they mean business with this album. While it seems like they are still working out a few kinks with the Top 40/metalcore mix the best songs on this album represent a very promising future for this band. If you're a fan of mixing metalcore and electronic music and can get into the turntables peppered throughout the album, then there's definitely something you'll find in this album to like. // 7