It has been a very long time since I last stumbled across an impressive post-hardcore band or release. Actually, let me change that "has" to a "had." I the Mighty, a four-piece post-hardcore/progressive rock band from San Francisco, Calif., has always been a band that I've heard quite a bit about. I never got around to listening to them until last year, though.
After forming in 2008, I the Mighty released two EPs and a full length, followed by the critically acclaimed Karma Never Sleeps in spring 2012. Karma Never Sleeps was the release that made me check this band out, and because it impressed critics (and myself), I knew I needed to keep close tabs on I the Mighty. The band's second full-length album, Satori – which is set to release via Equal Vision Records on June 11 – could very well be one of the best post-hardcore/rock albums that you will listen to in 2013.
The album gets off to a quick start with "Speak to Me," a single that was released as a video in April. "Speak to Me" gives the listener a glimpse of what's to come: tasty guitar leads, extremely catchy clean vocals, the occasional scream to add a bit more aggression, upbeat drumming and just an all-around excellent sound. The following track, "Failures," also brings a lot to the table. In its five-minute playtime, "Failures" features several impressive riffs, one of the catchiest choruses, a beautiful interlude and a heavy ending.
While "Some Say It's Your Loss" is one of the weaker tracks on Satori, it still contains some noteworthy moments, like the chorus and metalcore riffing in the latter half of the track. After "Some Say It's Your Loss," it's smooth sailing for a few tracks. "Ivy," yet another song with an incredible chorus, brings to mind Coheed & Cambria; "Artfull Temptress (Paint Me Sensless)" is a much more alternative/rock-inspired track that is placed perfectly on Satori; and "The Frame II: Keep Breathing," another track highly influenced by alternative/rock, features an interesting salsa part.
Now, here we are at the midway point. This is usually around the time where an album starts to weaken, but that is certainly not the case quite yet. The seventh track, "Four Letter Words," is my personal favourite. The vocals are particularly impressive on this track, especially during the chorus – which may be one of the best choruses I have heard all year – and they steal the show for four minutes. Following my personal favourite, we come to "Echoes." With a chorus that sounds similar to Fluorescent Youth-era Conditions, you'd think it would be one of the best tracks on the album. However, considering how strong the rest of the album is, "Echoes" seems to be lacking something special and it almost comes off as filler.
Next up is the acoustic-driven "Occupatience." Just like "Artfull Temptress (Paint Me Sensless)," "Occupatience" is placed perfectly and it serves as a nice change of pace. The style of this track immediately reminded me of Say Anything, a band that I the Mighty will begin touring with at the end of June. Unlike several albums that end on an acoustic note, the fun doesn't stop with "Occupatience." The final four tracks are all impressive in their own way, whether it be the faster, aggressive parts on "Between the Lines" or the relatively slow, beautiful "The Quick Fix" (ironic...) that closes out the album with an epic climax.
After looking at the playtime of the album and seeing an extremely intimidating ~51:00, I was already beginning to write the album off because I didn't think I the Mighty could keep things interesting for nearly an hour. However, I have listened to Satori from start to finish several times and I have yet to grow tired of even one song; even the weaker tracks ("Some Say It's Your Loss," "Echoes" and "Embers") are fun to listen to and a notch above 90 per cent of post-hardcore songs of recent years.
Along with the bands I've already mentioned in this review, there are glimpses of Circa Survive, Our Last Night, Hands Like Houses and Dance Gavin Dance throughout this release. Considering how many different sounds the aforementioned bands have, this is an album that you must listen to. Satori is a post-hardcore masterpiece, and I am convinced that it will be one of my favourite albums of 2013 when the year comes to an end.
Links: Facebook - iTunes