Sound — 10
NIIC's third album "Beast" was released in April 2016 and it is a good installment in the canine's discography.
01. "Introduction: I Am" - Using spoken vocals rather than sang, which I agree with Rou Reynolds (Enter Shikari) by saying that when you do a song spoken instead of singing, it shows more emotion like the first minute of the vocal track of "The Appeal & the Mindsweep I." Famous Tempo Similarity: Korn ft. Skrillex & Kill the Noize's "Narcissistic Cannibal" (both 87).
02. "Beast" - This is a key track for the album, which every album with a song of the same name needs. The vocal performance in this song is the strongest on the entire album. Famous Tempo Similarity: Fall Out Boy's "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark" (being 152 and "Beast" at 150).
03. "Howl at the Moon" - Very interesting keyboard introduction, the chorus is sang brilliantly. I'll admit that when I first saw this title, I thought it was a furry version of Ozzy's "Bark at the Moon," similar durations didn't aid this slight thought. Famous Tempo Similarity: Enter Shikari's "Anaesthetist" (being 108 and "Howl at the Moon" at 107).
04. "The Next Horizon" - Wow, not many other words to say really, my favourite song on the album, I think I shed a tear in the chorus, might've been because it was late, but nonetheless a very beautiful song. Famous Tempo Similarity: Muse's "Psycho" (both 125).
05. "PhD in Mixology" - Pure bass introductions always bring out the best in me, the bridge is just pawesome. Famous Tempo Similarity: Korn ft. Skrillex's "Get Up!" (both 140).
06. "Could You Ever" - Another song that made me shed a tear and makes me just want to hold him tight and make everything better. Piano! An acoustic version of this consisting of just the piano, lead vocals and acoustic guitar would be a very addictive track to listen to. Famous Tempo Similarity: Linkin Park ft. Steve Aoki's "A Light That Never Comes" (both 115).
07. "Heart in Me" - Purely hypnotic vocal work from start to finish, the keys are amazing. Possibly a continuation from "Could You Ever," which is a nice thought. Famous Tempo Similarity: Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" (both 105).
08. "The Watchmaker" - Beautiful lyrics and instrumental building structure. I love a strong build up, gives it that spark that sets of something big. Famous Tempo Similarity: Green Day's "Oh Love" (being 172 and "The Watchmaker" at 170).
09. "We Are Lovers (Of the Light)" - I absolutely love this song, the only problem with it in my opinion is the duration, I wish it was longer as it is just an exquisite part of the album. Third favourite song on the entire album, after "The Next Horizon" and "The Dog House" respectively. The more remix-y vocal effects are nicely put together. Famous Tempo Similarity: Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" (being 138 and "We Are Lovers" at 137).
10. "The Dog House" - Definitely my second favourite chunk of the album. The laugh at the end is just adorable, and it is contagious as it makes me laugh too. The darkest song of the album but one of the most listened to by me. Famous Tempo Similarity: Iron Maiden's "The Trooper" (both 156).
11. "Thank You (For Being There)" - Good drum roll build. Definitely going to be in my playlist of songs to listen to when I'm feeling sad/depressed. Now in a playlist including Linkin Park's "The Messenger," Slipknot's "XIX" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Dreamer," you know, soft songs with strong emotional meaning, though "XIX" is mostly electronics and vocals. Famous Tempo Similarity: Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole" (both 120).
12 "President of the United States of Dance" - I was admittedly skeptical about this due to the name and my musical background consisting of Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson and Korn (to name only a few), but I was pleasantly surprised. The bridge with the announcement vocals are simply superb. Famous Tempo Similarity: Disturbed's "Another Way to Die" (being 112 and "President of the United States of Dance" being at 113).
13. "Our Time Will Come" - Just like "The Watchmaker," this has a good, strong build that keeps the listener interested. I think you made the right choice making this the final track, of the album, it is a passionate song. It is a perfect ending as it is the end of a partner/relationship whereas through the album love and happiness is a running theme. Famous Tempo Similarity: Green Day's "Holiday" (being 146 and "Our Time Will Come" at 147).
14. "The Next Horizon (Acoustic)" - Sounds more complete than the original in my opinion, though that could just be my love for songs with acoustic guitar tracks. Most acoustic versions out there have just the vocals and acoustic guitar, occasionally with piano and bass, but with this version being the original just mastered differently. The bridge of this version proves that they are very talented fingers from the dog with a guitar.
Lyrics — 10
01. "Introduction: I Am" - Referencing both previous albums "Unleashed" and "Instinct" in the lines "Because I am Unleashed... And I trust Instinct..." gives a feeling of continuing a story, which referencing old works can sometimes be a bad idea but in this case it boosts the feeling of the NIIC's backstory. The lyrics nicely fit into following track Beast.
02. "Beast" - A very strong and subsequently dark track, showed by the line "I left my cell without a sound and your wretched heart."
03. "Howl at the Moon" - A more wolf-y song, the line "Spinning in a moonlit lunar disco" is makes me smile for some reason.
04. "The Next Horizon" - Upon my first listen to the song I thought the line was "I wanna stand up! I wanna unlock! I wanna hear you, but I'll be far gone!" but is actually "You will not be forgot!"
05. "PhD in Mixology" - The clear sexual tensions in this song are showed by "And I had a vision: of you on top of me!" The line "And they can call me a liar, but that'd be a lie" is a nice double negative. Strange feeling to think about but feels good.
06. "Could You Ever" - The lines "Could you ever love someone like me?" and "Without you, it'd mean the death of me!" come across as shouting out but the words are falling on deaf, loveless ears.
07. "Heart in Me" - The line "And I know that there's a heart in me at last!" sparks a happy thought in my mind.
08. "The Watchmaker" - "I'm just a dog, with a guitar" is my favourite line of the album, and that means it beats "The Dog House" and even the chorus of "The Next Horizon"!
09. "We Are Lovers (Of the Light)" - The line "They'll tell you what to fear, and how to play it safe" reminds me of something Paul Stanley (KISS (obviously)) would write, and this gives a feeling of security.
10. "The Dog House" - The lines "This world is dog-eat-dog they say," "There's no bark worse than my bite!" and "I'm no devil, I'm no saint, I'm just a boy you threw away" are lines that begin my initial thought of this song being about holding those that have wronged NIIC being contained and now face certain death.
11. "Thank You (For Being There)" - The line "Oh, I fear, I fear the day you'll leave me, when you've finally given up" is a line that makes me shake my head and think "I'm never leaving." The line "And you raised it up, got my torn down and mangled body back together" is another loving/standing out lyric.
12. "President of the United States of Dance" - Another sexual track showed by the line "We're acrobatic addicts (Between the bed posts!)"
13. "Our Time Will Come" - Though it seems that when NIIC is doing something kind, his ego is against it with the line "My ego ripped off its price tag."
Overall Impression — 10
Overall this is my favourite album of 2016 and it will take a lot to shift this position, the only true contender for my #1 2016 album by New Year's Eve will be Ozzy Osbourne's upcoming album, but nonetheless it will be difficult to beat this. So far it has been a bad year for good music, thankfully this gem came along and has been good to listen to when relaxing.
Give an hour of your time to listen to this album, and don't hesitate to listen to both "Unleashed" and "Instinct" before or after listening to "Beast."