Sound — 9
With their third release, "From The Fallout", Thirty 30 have finally arrived. After their first EP, "Inventing Ghosts" rooted in a mixture of hip-hop, alternative, and prog-rock, Thirty 30 completely abandoned their roots by adopting a more mainstream rock sound on their 2nd EP, "Dawn". Though the 3 song EP seemed more focused, their fans wondered if they were going to return to their heavy metal roots or stay as a hard rock outfit. "From The Fallout" is really Thirty 30 discovering themselves as artists and realizing their capabilities. The songwriting, musical and vocal performances, lyrical delivery, and overall production quality are a total step up for these San Diegans. Lyrically, this EP almost sounds like a mini-concept album, which I will explain in a moment. Sound: The first thing one notices when listening to "From The Fallout" is a clearer production quality. In June '12, Thirty 30 announced that they had changed producers, leaving behind veteran producer Jeff Forrest, whose credits include As I Lay Dying, Bleeding Through, Blink-182, as well as Thirty 30's "Inventing Ghosts" and "Dawn" EPs. They chose newcomer Roger Alvarez and his home studio, Hexium Studios, in their hometown of Chula Vista, Ca. Roger brought out a brighter, more clean cut, polished sound to Thirty 30's style. He not only worked with the band on expanding their sound, but also helped write some guitar leads and performed additional guitars. "From The Fallout" opens with the aggressive/angst filled "Taste Of Fate", which starts with a gothic sounding breakdown reminiscent of Bleeding Through and builds into a thrash metal stylized verse. From there it's melodic chaos. "Taste Of Fate" is the strongest track on the EP, and weaves the grooves with energy like its telling a story. "Lying To Myself" is the first single from "From The Fallout" and it is a different kind of rock song for Thirty 30. "Lying To Myself" is has such a fun feel to it, but it doesn't help to steer away from the bands common comparison to Paramore. "Lying To Myself" is filled with subtle synths, a breakdown that is more melodic than 'chuggy', and a great guitar solo. It is definitely a radio rock single and could be a massive hit, but even though it is a great song, (vocalist Danielle Cullins carries the song with hooks and grace) "Lying To Myself" is not a song I could personally listen to on a daily basis. Not to discourage the song, but that is what usually happens to the 'single'. Then there is "October". Upon first listen, I was a bit taken aback by Thirty 30's choice to put a song like "October" on a release that contains some of the heaviest material Thirty 30 have put out. However, on the second listen, I begin to recognize that Thirty 30 is not a metal band... They are a great rock band. "October" is very pop-oriented, with a cool rhythm section, steady baselines, and great rhythmic acoustic guitars. Rather than give us a sappy ballad, Thirty 30 adds groove and nice beats to this acoustic guitar steered song. Bassist Alberto Lafarga stands out quietly as the string that ties the guitars and drums together, and his romantic solo bass lines really bring out the specialty in this track. Drummer Joel Flores' hip-hop styled beat also adds a warm, groovy flavor to the song as well, but it is his fills that stand out on this song as well. The U2-like bridge is also the biggest highlight on this song. "October" is my favorite song on "From The Fallout", and there is so much happening musically on this song, it just draws my interest every time I hear it. This is also another song that I could see being played on heavy rotation on the radio. The title track, "From The Fallout" closes the EP, and it really ends on a massive note. "From The Fallout" begins with a haunting piano intro and then just explodes moments later. Drummer Joel Flores drives the heart beat of this aggressive song, as he syncopated prog-like sections with vocalist/guitarist Anthony Esparza's riffs. It is also on "From The Fallout" that we see Anthony return to the microphone and contribute lead vocals on. (Anthony has been a more backing vocalist on Thirty 30's previous EP, "Dawn") The end of the song seems to also be the climax of the entire EP as vocalist Danielle Cullins and Anthony battle each other against guitar harmonies, synths, and heavy hitting drums that makes for a fitting ending. "From The Fallouts" clear production quality stands out the most, but the band also utilizes new tricks to keep their music relevant to their contemporaries by incorporating 808's and a large amount of keyboards that give the music a 'movie feel'. Multitracked guitars, complex song arrangements, simple keyboards, progressive rock experimentation, and the switchoffs/weaving of vocalists Danielle and Anthony make "From The Fallout" Thirty 30's best EP yet. If you happen to get the free downloadable version of "From The Fallout", you will receive an extra bonus track, a cover of Lady Gaga's "Electric Chapel", which is amazing. Most bands will rewrite a pop song to fit their 'rock' or 'metal' thing, change key, tempos, etc., however Thirty 30 have manage to perform a pop song in a rock style while at the same time keeping the integrity of the original in tact. Danielle sings the hell out of this song, especially the vocal solo in the middle of the song, and the rest of the band seems comfortable playing. It is definitely a must-have EP for any rock or metal fan who can appreciate other types of music.
Lyrics — 6
"From The Fallout" is another Thirty 30 departure in the lyrical sense because this time Danielle Cullins wrote a large majority of the lyrics, having one song in which he collaborated with Anthony on ("Taste Of Fate") and only one track completely written by Anthony ("From The Fallout"). And although I am a fan of Anthony's writing, it is a nice change to hear what the female of the band has to say. However, lyrically, the wagon does shake a little. On the single, "Lying To Myself", it sounds as if Danielle was just picking and choosing words that rhyme together. But "Taste Of Fate" and "October" have great lyrics and melodies between the two. "Taste Of Fate" is the more aggressive song, and the lyrics seem to embody both anger and strength. "I bargain with demise/To see what's left inside" Anthony howls while Danielle sums it up in the chorus, "I hate this feeling I can't shake/There isn't much that I can't take". "October" is the love song which has great melodies and descriptive lyrics, and although they wok together very well, I think lyrically, this song could have had its moments. But this is Danielle Cullins' first swing at writing lyrics and it is definitely not bad at all. Just spots here and there but not bad enough to hinder the listener. "From The Fallout", the title track, was penned by Anthony, who was the mind behind the concept of the title, which Anthony has told me is a story that deals with using nuclear warfare as a metaphor for the aftermath of a relationship. All the songs on "From The Fallout" have to deal with the reaction rather than the situation. And since a broken heart has been at the core of most Thirty 30 songs, these are the best examples of those ideas.
Overall Impression — 8
Thirty 30's "From The Fallout" is a great release, but it's only fault is that it is a 5 song EP, and not an entire record. But the songs that are on here kick a-s. The songwriting, production, and performances are all on the next level. In my opinion, Thirty 30 have arrived! My absolute favorite tracks off this EP would have to be "Taste Of Fate" and "October". If you like Stone Sour, In This Moment, Evanescence, or Machine Head, you will definitely want to down the EP. It's once again available for FREE download right here.