While most will argue that metalcore has become a boring, generic and dry genre… there are bands that emerge from the shadows and challenge that opinion. One of those bands for me would certainly have to be TX’s A Tragic Setback. Taking us back to the days when the genre was at it’s prime with the emergence of bands like Trivium, Atreyu, Scars of Tomorrow and Asking Alexandria… these 5 individuals create a sound that has long-since been lost in the flood of formulaic, by-the-books metalcore and really capture the listener’s heart, mind and ears! Their new EP, Chasing the Light is one of the best albums in the genre that I’ve heard in years… it just goes to prove that, give the right talent, attitude and dedication… this genre can still thrive. What is it that sets Chasing the Light and ATS apart from other albums/bands in the genre, though? What is that makes them worth your time?
This album, throughout its entirety, is filled with powerful lyrics which deal with a variety of different topics. No track will pull at your heart strings harder than “Too Beautiful For Earth”. I find this track almost too hard to listen to because it deals with a really painful subject, the loss of a child. Through the lyrics of this track, we feel Justin go through each of the stages of grief… denial, sadness, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. “Don’t be afraid, ’cause you’re not in darkness/The light you see will lead you home/Don’t be afraid, though I’m not here with you/In paradise you’ll roam” Arenas cries out as the listener bursts into tears. This is not an easy song to listen to and, honestly, if you have a heart… you’ll shed tears no matter how tough you think you are. I commend Justin for taking such a tragic event and turning it into a beautiful work of art like this. You feel every ounce of emotion he felt poured deeply into this track. It teaches you to realize that life is too precious to waste away… you never know when you, or the ones you love, may cease to exist.
The title track, “Chasing the Light” is another one of my favorites dealing with the subject of perseverance and forbidden love. No matter who you are, if you’ve ever been a relationship, you’ve felt that feeling that everyone is against you. No matter who it may be: Family, friends, outside parties… there’s always going to be someone who doubts that the love you share is true. This track is about beating the odds, destroying their perception and proving them wrong. “I am the light/The fire that you seek/I am the voice/The voice that sweeps you off your feet/If you fall, I will catch you/If you cry, cry a stream/Just always know in your heart/That I will never leave”, this is the voice of true love, crying out through Arenas.
The last song, lyrically, I want to speak about is “Game Over”. This track, obviously, deals with the theme of “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, meaning that someone puts on a disguise, leading you to think they are something real… but, in reality, they’re just leading you on and draining you of everything you have. It’s about standing up to those people and saying “enough is enough!” The theme of this track cannot be better expressed than in the breakdown which hits you with “WITH EVERYTHING YOU EVER TOOK FROM ME/IT’S GAME OVER, GAME OVER!” Vocally, you can feel 100% of the anger/hurt that is expressed with each word in this track.
Throughout this entire album, we’re reminded of a better time… a time where metalcore wasn’t oversaturated with autotune, generic lyrics and generic themes. Guitarists Joe McCloskey and Ethan Wade provide you with fast-paced playing, riff-laden hooks and blazing solos. Drummer Chris Arenas, together with bassist Chris McCloskey, create a strong skeleton to this musically-infused monster. Of course, this is enough to keep the listener interested throughout the album but the vocals delivered by Justin Arenas bring this fire to a roar, both beautiful and deadly, determined to burn everything in sight. Plus, on the track “Play By Play”, we get a special appearance from the phenomenal Shawn Spann, vocalist for Sumerian Records band I, The Breather. Collectively, each song is delivered with perfect accuracy, deadly precision and aimed straight at the listener’s heart for an experience that, not only is pleasing to the ears, but provides a connection that I feel is far-lost from today’s music.
Chasing the Light is an album that sees this TX quintet doing just that, chasing their well-deserved glory. This album, self-released, was released on March 31st and is available wherever you buy your digital music! Check out the official video for the title track and buy links below. If you’ve been waiting for a reason to check these guys out, there’s no better time than now! What are you waiting for?! Head over to iTunes or AmazonMP3 and pick up your copy of Chasing the Light now!
“Chasing the Light” (Official Music Video)
“Play By Play (ft. Shawn Spann)” (Official Lyric Video)
A Tragic Setback is:
Vocals – Justin Arenas
Guitar – Joe McCloskey
Guitar – Ethan Wade
Bass – Chris McCloskey
Drums – Josten Rodriguez