I’ll be blunt in saying metalcore is dull these days. It seems like even the more popular bands have fallen into the same stagnant routine with their songwriting, involving your same old generic breakdowns and predictable structure. Whether you’d like to include the djent guitar fad is up to you, but they have a tendency of doing the same thing. With that out of the way, let’s discuss an interesting example of some folks changing the game a bit in Invent, Animate. Recently signed to Tragic Hero Records, the band is set to release its debut full-length album, Everchanger, hoping to shed some light on what we could consider a natural progression in the genre.
The opening track, “Sol,” has a very intriguing feel to it with guitars that remind me of Architects in a way, but it immediately makes me notice one major gripe with the band – and that is the vocals. Ben English has fantastic growls, which cut deep and are chilling when used, but his middle screams and cleans need work; they’re both inconsistent and simple whenever used. If he were to stick to the growls and improve his mid-range vocals, he could complement the music easier. This idea is only further proven by the album’s second single, “Naturehold,” which features a brilliant chorus helped along by Erra’s clean vocalist, Jesse Cash. The drumming by Trey Celaya is brilliant on this track, and the guitars are also pleasant, though not exactly original compared to “Sol”.
The third track and first single for the album, “Nocturne: Lost Faith,” has the most interesting guitar parts on the album without question; the arpeggio intro is catchy and creates a very interesting mood, which is only continued throughout the track. “Courier” is next, bringing a groovier feel than the last few tracks, though still instrumentally sound. I can only continue to praise Celaya’s drumming on this record, as every part is both tasteful and complementary to the songs as a whole, yet still technical and flashy. Even with “Moon Phase,” which is remarkably reminiscent of an Architects track once again, his drumming brings the song back to being more original in its own right.
As I continued into “Forest Haven” and “Eventide,” I began to notice something about Everchanger: it almost feels like the same track over and over again at this point. Though each song has its own theme, they do nothing to separate themselves from each other, and the album begins to drag on a bit on that one note. It’s almost painful in a way because Invent, Animate shows remarkable promise – in both instrumental talent and in songwriting abilities. Going through the latter songs, “Native Intellect” and “Half-Life,” they each could stand on their own as a single, for sure, but in relation to the album, they are the exact same; with that in mind, they are sort of boring. “Luna” is the only song relatively different in a way, solely because it feels more like an exit song, with a chanting soft break before a remarkably heavy chugging riff to finish.
Everchanger is 10 singles of metalcore excellence, but the album has little to no progression in it as a whole. In a way, you could praise Invent, Animate on its consistency, but the band is a bit too consistent and should try to branch out a bit with its sound on future albums. With that thought in mind, I’m very eager to hear Invent, Animate’s next album, for this band has loads of potential that just needs to be tapped into a bit more.