Gwen Stacy – A Dialogue
Record Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: October 20, 2009
Just a year after releasing their debut record, The Life I Know in 2008, Gwen Stacy switched from Ferret Music to a perfect home on Solid State records for their 2009 follow-up record, A Dialogue. Continuing in the direction of TLIK, Gwen Stacy enlisted producer Andreas Magnusson, who has with similar bands including Oh, Sleeper and Haste the Day, to expand their heavy sound.
Deciding to experiment in various ways with their sophomore record, Gwen Stacy crafted a concept record similar to Oh, Sleeper’s Son of the Morning. A Dialogue is just that: a dialogue and conversation between man and God on various subjects: questions, doubt, abandonment, etc. In this way, while Gwen Stacy bring little new to their metalcore table, they are instilling waves of creativity throughout A Dialogue with their unique concept.
While listening to Dialogue, it’s near impossible not to notice the growth of Gwen Stacy. Tracks such as opener “The First Words” and “Words of the New Prophet” feature excellent call and return sing-scream combinations between screamer Geoff Jenkins and clean vocalist Brent Schindler, showing Gwen Stacy have fine tuned their vocals and screams. Musically, the band has tightened up instrumentally, as the guitars and drums sound massive over backbreaking screams on the dark “Creation And How I See It” and “A Middle Ground.” Alike to on The Life I Know, the breakdowns destroy on “Profit Motive” while the latter “The Sound of Letting Go” is the most diverse track Gwen Stacey have written, driven by soft guitar and TJ Sego’s soft drum beats. Schindler excels on the track over haunting piano before Jenkins dominates the end of A Dialogue in its final minutes on this wondrous closer.
Full of neck breaking riffs and gut wrenching screams (“Devil Devil” and “The Making Of”), progression is prevalent throughout A Dialogue’s entirety; the concept alone conveys the growth of the band, as they are trying to diversify themselves rather than fall into the similarities plaguing heavy music. In a genre very difficult to stand out in, Gwen Stacy use their sophomore record to do all they can to separate themselves from other acts. While A Dialogue by no means reinvents Gwen Stacy’s sound or breaks any of the barriers of genre, it presents superb growth for the band, who absolutely obliterate with swift guitar riffs and vicious screams throughout the record.