I See Stars - Digital Renegade
Record Label: Sumerian Records
Release Date: March 13th, 2012
Months before this album was released, I See Stars publicly posted (via facebook) that they were going to record a new album because they were not thrilled with the quality of their last album, The End Of The World Party. Thank god they realized how poor that album was, because they decided to return to a more aggressive, hardcore style in their newest album, Digital Renegade, a ten song ride that will leave the listener pleased throughout with the exception of one short filler type song. When ISS released a track off the album months before it would be released, the track Filth Friends Unite, fans could tell that this was a huge step in the right direction for the band, and surely it was.
The intro song, "Gnars Attack" absolutely gets the album off on the right foot with a catchy and powerful group shout that prevails through major parts of the song. Halfway through the song, i see stars brings in their electro portion with a segment that sounds straight out of Breathe Carolina. This song simply previews the greatness and aggressiveness that can be found on the rest of the album.
"NZT48" follows through well with a good chorus and a killer breakdown where Zach screams, "Some men, just want to watch the world burn, Watch the world burn!". A very good track and one that continues to show ISS's step in the right direction. The one complaint with "NZT48" is the lyrics, which on the whole lacked throughout the album, but not enough to bother any fan of hardcore music. The title track was fairly unimpressive, simply because it doesn't stand at the quality of the rest of the album. "Endless Sky" (featuring Danny Warsnop of Asking Alexandria) is a great song and will surely be a favorite simply because of the love some fans have for Danny and his band.
I often group "Underneath Every Smile" and "Mystery Wall" together, which should be a crime because they are both fantastic songs. On both tracks, Devin's high pitched singing paves the way for Zach to take over and dominate the songs. I think because of the lack of screaming on their previous album, many people forgot how great Zach's screaming is, but after hearing this album, fans will never forget how flawless his screaming is.
The one letdown on the album is IBelieve, a short song of all digitalized singing that does very little for the listener. My biggest complaint with this album is that it's too short! Nine real songs?? Come on we crave more! "Summer Died in Connorsville" is another solid track that does not stand out too much but features a catchy chorus and some good synth sections. Finally there is the masterpiece of the album, Electric Forest, which features Cassadee Pope. The lyrics are beautiful in this song as the three vocalists describe the feelings and emotions that run through them as they perform on stage. Devin's high pitch vocals flow perfectly with Cassadee's stunning voice, while Zach opens the track with brutal screams and helps close the track as well. On the first listen, i got goosebumps when Devin and Cassadee sang, "This life is just a perfect fit..." and Devin then Devin yells "For a Mess Like Me!". This track is catchy, and on all levels beats any song ISS has put out on their previous albums. Finally, the album ends with the first released track, Filth Friends, which is an exciting song but is rather inconsistent with its lyrics.
This album may have just saved the life of I See Stars, whose future looked bleak and disappointing following End of the World Party. This album is more aggressive, more engaging, more powerful and simply more fun to listen to. Including Zach more in the vocal work has paid incredible dividends for this band, as they take a major step in the right direction. Fans can only hope that the band continues with this style as they progress and continue to right new music.
Electric Forest, but every track is certainly worth the listen! (except maybe IBelieve)
Firmly agree with the review. I've been into this band unitl just before 3D came out and I feel that this is their best outing. 3D is a classic, TEOTWP was a letdown, albeit catchy, but I was blown away at the progression on this album. Every song is superb and the production is fantastic. If you don't like this style of produced electro-metalcore then this won't sway you but if you are I highly recommend it.
I'd say that Electric Forest is my favorite song of the year so far and the album as a whole is most likely as well. So pleased.