Artist: Of Creations
Album: Misbelief – EP
Nature is a remarkable thing; steadfast, permanent and stubborn, it is capable of outliving nearly any artificial structure crafted by man, and surviving even the most drastic climate shifts (if this past Winter has taught us anything.) However, even in spite of how stubbornly it adheres to the same tenants of survival and succession, it remains dynamic; creating some of the most beautifully diverse and multifaceted organisms and instances ever witnessed by mankind. Whether it’s the blossom of soft, tender flowers from the harsh, intense heat of the desert, or the tall, twisting vines that flourish amid the voracious winds and incessant downpour of the amazon, nature is capable of taking a variety of factors from its surroundings and making do—using them all as influences from which to survive and thrive. Indiana’s Of Creations, in this respect, is a very natural band. Misbelief, the group’s second studio EP, draws from a variety of influences to create an organic and immersive experience for the listener. Whether its hard-hitting, bone crunching deathcore or soft, crooning post-hardcore, Misbelief is a dynamic and unique experience that will make a believer out of the listener before they’re even done listening to it.
At its firmament—the trunk of the towering oak that is Misbelief—there is thick, strong instrumentation and sturdy, heavy influences. Break-neck percussion serves as a trailblazing element to the chugging, churning goliath that is Of Creations; Scott Urban lets loose with pummeling, jaw-breaking fills and machine-gun blast beats that draw heavily from both death-and-grind-core acts a like. These pair perfectly with moments of pure, downtuned destruction that fly forth from the frets of Ian Stinson and Spencer Phipps. The EP’s title track, “Misbelief,” showcases this dynamic brilliantly—as does “Sever the Ties.” Lightning-speed drumming and drop-of-a-dime fills blend perfectly with heavy, metallic riffing that serve as the meaty, thick basis for the album to develop from. At the flick of Urban’s drumstick, Stinson and Phipps are able to take their catchy, shreddy riffs and either devolve into gut-wrenching, prolapse-inducing heaviness or soar into sky-high solos and dynamic duel-fretted assaults on the listener’s ears. “Misbelief” especially does this—flowing beautifully from grotesque, gyrating grooves into stellar solos with just enough warning to prevent the listener from being completely knocked out of their seat. The introduction to the EP’s final track—“The Gloves Came Off”—utilizes a similar approach; warming up with subtle, soft fretwork only to lacerate the listener with intense, sharp and slicing riffs backed by boisterous percussion.
As the experience that is Misbelief grows, developing from a solid trunk of sinfully heavy instrumentation and soul-shredding riffs, to its branches, the influences shift. Grinding grooves and masterful, metallic riffs turn to harmonies and soft, serene elements that link together the portions of gruesome heaviness Of Creations assault the listener with. “Truth Within” and “Reverance” do this particularly well—as soft vocals or group chants find themselves in frequent rotation, alongside catchy, hooky melodies and atmospheric, ambient electronic effects. These electronics are like vines that wind around the entire release—while they certainly play subtle rolls in the soft, dynamic linking elements of Misbelief, they are more noticeable in the heavier, intense portions of the EP. When intelligent riffing and well-written, whimsical song dynamics fall by the wayside, steamrolling bass guitar and deep, resounding chugs serve as a framework for the electronics to blossom forth from—jumping to the forefront of the listener’s attention, making otherwise cut-and-paste breakdowns one-of-a-kind. Likewise, the synth and programmed elements then provide a smooth, fluid method for the band to return to an equilibrium of metallic riffing and heavy-hitting hardcore.
Flowing from the depths of the soil—the very tips of Misbelief’s roots—to its very topmost branches, there is a factor that provides continuity; the most natural aspect of the veritable ecosystem of sound Of Creations brings to the listener. Vocally, Of Creations are at the very top echelon of technical metalcore. Chris Sloan is capable of using everything from the “brees” and “wrees” of aggressive, degrading deathcore to soft, crooned cleans and powerful, melodic singing standard of post-hardcore and modern thrash metal alike. By making such an immense and diverse vocal effort throughout Misbelief, the EP has a wonderfully full-bodied feel and graciously varied nature that prevents monotony and lets each section transition noticeably into the next. This, however, isn’t without the occasional pitfall—there are times, especially on “Misbelief”—where the vocals seem forced, as Sloan finds himself wandering just on the other side of not just his comfort zone, but his capable range as well. These stresses and strains also had a raw, organic feel to the release—giving both flaw and feeling.
Towering along with the likes of For Today, Within the Ruins and Born of Osiris, Of Creations rises among their influences and craft a completely natural experience. Misbelief gathers elements from artists like Veil of Maya and Battlecross alike to create an immersive EP that winds and snares the listener like vines around a peerless pine—or a python around its next powerless victim.
For Fans Of: Within the Ruins, For Today, An Act of Treason, The Air I Breathe
By: Connor Welsh