Consider the Meek - Above the System
Record Label: Leek Records
Release date: November 2008
After downloading Consider The Meek's free 4 song teaser at punkbands.com, I immediately went over to interpunk and bought their new album Above The System. The album starts with a long instrumental that leads into the song appropriately called "Above The System". It ends with a massive wave of sound. Suddenly the song stops, goes into a speedy, ferociously technical guitar and drum section, and you know you are in for a ride. Kev Lee's vocals come in and it feels like you are about to listen to Propagandhi's "Less Talk More Rock" for the first time.
"The People's Introduction to Neo-Liberalism" follows. This track has super catchy guitar hooks and backing vocals enter to remain until the end of the album. There are more sections in these 2.5 minutes than I can count, but they gel together perfectly so the listener doesn't get too confused. Again, the lyrics are intelligent and thought provoking. Track 3 goes on a similar path, though with more of a "rock" feel.
Track 4, "The Shit-Talk Doesn't Stop", hits you with the fastest and one of the best songs on the album. It's like Avenged Sevenfold without the metal. Bass lines are flying, guitars are shredding and drums are desperate. The music certainly sets the mood for a song about meritocracy behind the war machine. Track 5 is the longest and most creative song, again with instrumental build ups and huge endings that keep the album unpredictable.
Halfway through the album, unpredictability becomes the theme. "Paper Cranes" is a slow, brave, acoustic song that tackles the issue of the A-bomb head on. It is a song that perhaps will set a new standard to some of the simple "punk goes acoustic" songs we've heard in recent years. This song has layers of guitars, piano, and walls of backing vocals. Track 7 and 8 respond with fast, angry melodic hardcore. Tracks 9 and 10 move back into catchy punk tunes with incredibly infectious melodies. And just when you thought you had heard it all on one punk album, the last 2 tracks end the album with an almost pop-punk feel.
If I had to pick on something here, it would probably be the backing vocals. While certainly creative, they are a little too adventurous and at times too sweet sounding. This can sound a little strange behind the aggressive, heartfelt lead vocals.
The thing that remains similar throughout the album is the lyrics. Yes, they are political, but certainly not preachy. It feels like the songs have come from the heart and while Consider The Meek sing about world issues, the songs seem like a reflection from personal experience. This is very empowering for the listener, who will feel positive and motivated - at least I did.