Elevate: I Am - The Ghost Eclipse Sessions
Record Label: ALF Records
Release Date: June 7, 2011
A Static Lullaby has always been one of those bands that leave me flummoxed. Their Rattlesnake! album was as confusing in content as it was in sound. I loved the dark aspects within and found myself wishing they would steer more in that direction on future releases. Turns out, we get the next best thing. Joe Brown, known for his aggressive and harsh screams recently formed Elevate: I Am, and instead of coming off as a heavier and darker ASL, Elevate breaks away and manages a sound all their own. Intriguing in lyrical content and filled with catchy hooks, Elevate: I Am have crafted a very impressive debut album.
"The Descent" isn't even two minutes, but it's a face-melter, featuring sweet rhythm guitars and an impressive vocal display from Brown. "Codependent Carcass" allows clean vocalist John Martinez to shine through. He really does a stellar job on this track and is a nice contrast to the fierce screams. "Hello, I'm Your Lost Cause" is an imposing punk-influenced song and a definite highlight. There are obvious fillers, unfortunately. "Never Ever Say Never" is a prime example, featuring a mostly uninspired sound, and droning on for four minutes. However, it's really the only song I'd recommend a skip. "Chapter 19" is nothing particularly special, but its upbeat chorus makes it somewhat notable.
The musicianship found here is truly incredible at most times, but this is hardly surprising considering the musical background (A Static Lullaby and Lorene Drive notably) of the members. They really mesh hardcore, punk, and southern rock together almost flawlessly. With near-perfect production from Steve Evetts (Every Time I Die) however, it makes the overall quality that much better.
The lyrics here are a more personal experience than ASL. On "More Ironic Than Alanis", Brown effectively shouts "They can't prescribe me, thereís no denying me/Iíve been up in the stars searching for Heaven's gate" and "What the fuck has my ego done?" Definitely a more mature approach to writing, and easier to connect with as a listener.
The Ghost Eclipse Sessions hardly sounds like a debut album. In fact, it all fits together so beautifully that it sounds like this band has been playing together for countless years. Of course there are mistakes here and there -- this is to be expected. But when this album hits the stores, people will flock to buy it. Not only because Joe Brown from A Static Lullaby is in the band, or because it has former members of Lorene Drive, or even because it's another production gem from Evetts. No, people will buy this album because of the deep thought that went into its conception. People will buy it because -- despite being a new band -- it's another display of post-hardcore done right. Most importantly, though, people will buy it because it kicks ass, and kicks it hard without throwing breakdown after recycled breakdown into your face. Maybe there's hope for this genre yet, and maybe other bands in this scene could listen and take some notes. Then again, that's probably just the optimist in me.
Thoroughly enjoy ASL and haven't heard anything from them in a long while (Rattlesnake! was in '08 can you believe that?!) so I'll definitely check this out. Really enjoy what I've heard so far. And thankfully Dan promised a new ASL full length sometime this year so that should be awesome.