While Sumerian Records is primarily known as home to some of the best current progressive-core bands (Born of Osiris, Periphery, Veil of Maya, etc.), they have also signed quite a few big-name post-hardcore bands. One of those post-hardcore bands is I See Stars.
Forming in 2006, I See Stars quickly began to make a name for themselves. They were signed by Sumerian Records just two short years into their career. After releasing two albums, 3D (2009) and The End of the World Party (2011), they set their sights on releasing a third album. The aforementioned third album, Digital Renegade, comes out on March 13, 2012.
Digital Renegade is unlike anything that I See Stars has released in the past. For starters, it is much more aggressive than their previous album, The End of the World Party. You can expect to hear a fair bit of screaming (much improved screaming, might I add), but there is one song that is comprised entirely of clean vocals, which is the seventh track, iBelieve. Personally, I think iBelieve is the weakest song on the album. It's not very catchy, the clean vocals are mediocre, and instrumentally it is rather slow. Another song that primarily consists of clean vocals is Electric Forest. For the majority of this song, you will hear the voice of clean vocalist, Devin Oliver, as well as some guest vocals by Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday. Electric Forest ends with a bit of a bang though, as it closes with a fairly heavy breakdown.
I really think that you, the listeners, should pay close attention to the following tracks: NZT48, Endless Sky, Underneath Every Smile, Mystery Wall, and Filth Friends Unite. NZT48 and Filth Friends Unite are two of the heaviest songs on the album, but they both have some really catchy choruses as well. Endless Sky, which features Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria, has almost everything you could ask for. There's quite a bit of synth, good clean vocals, and some really good guitar leads. Underneath Every Smile has a really catchy chorus and an awesome "groove" verse that reminds me of the new Attack Attack! style. Despite enjoying the previously mentioned tracks, my favourite song on Digital Renegade is Mystery Wall. The chorus is extremely catchy, and I could probably listen to it on repeat for an hour and still find it catchy.
In my opinion, Digital Renegade is a grower. During my first listen, there were several times in which I wanted to abandon ship and stop listening to the album because I wasn't too keen on some of the choruses and, at times, the overuse of synth. However, I'm glad I stuck to it, because after a few more playthroughs, I had come to the conclusion that I enjoyed Digital Renegade enough to make room for it on my iPod.