Album: Choose Hate
Fewer and fewer artists seem to be as enthused about creating an enveloping atmosphere within their releases these days. Sure, EPs and albums are getting released all time, but how many of them are really fluid? And within those, how many are connected by a concept or story? And in the overlapping section of that venn diagram of artists, how many have created a truly immersive experience within their album that takes over the listener’s mind and enables them to get lost–with absolutely no desire to be found? If you’re on the same page as I am, you’re probably able to count those artists on one or maybe two hands. Whether they were there before or not, Seattle-based deathcore outfit Idols should be now. Since their debut EP, Idols have been crafting bitter, visceral soundscapes with their music, and their debut full length, Choose Hate is no different. So packed with insidious, savage and cruel sentiment, Choose Hate is the very sound of disdain–the embodiment of negativity–which gets the blood pumping in the listener’s veins, and the hairs standing up on the back of their necks so effectively, it can’t help but be considered a truly surrounding and conceptual experience.
Everything about Choose Hate screams gut wrenching bitterness–beginning with the instrumentals. Pounding, churning drums and rolling, grimy bass provide a driving, motive force behind Idols’ misanthropic, anger-fueled juggernaut of a record. The guitars are no different–whether it’s the gyrating, pulsating groove which kicks off “Remnant,” or the riff-driven, pseudo-shred found abundantly throughout the record (“Voices” and “Deadweight” are of particular note), the fretwork is simply lacerating. Chopping and cutting like knives and daggers, the guitars are the angry, violent edge to the instrumental steamroller that is Choose Hate. While the drums and bass provide a constant, battering, smashing low end which is nearly overwhelming on it’s own, the guitars reach out to scratch and slice at the listener’s ears. The fact that Idols are able to launch such a multifaceted and brutalizing attack on the listener with pure instrumental prowess is nothing short of remarkable. Granted, at times there are moments where the instrumentals seem to fall into a “same-sounding” pattern, this pattern is nothing short of hypnotizing and devastating. Even the fact that some parts of songs sound the same can hardly be berated, because realistically, no other band brings sheer, relentless hate with their musicianship in quite the same way that Idols do–and this is before one even factors in the unstoppable force which is found within the vocals and lyrics.
Choose Hate’s sinister assault continues once the vocals are taken into consideration. Deep bellows placed alongside shrill highs create a two-tone attack on the listener which beautifully compliments the nature of the instruments. While the bellows found throughout “Millstone,” the very same which are prevalent throughout most of the record, are absolutely bonecrushing. However, even more devastating is the contrasting slash to the listener’s throat which occurs when high screams rear their head. The introduction to the title track, as well as the guest vocal spot on “Voices” catch the listener completely off guard and add a whole new dimension to the vocal onslaught on the album. This added depth simultaneously allows the listener to drop their jaw in shock and appreciate the sheer malice in the relentless lows which reign as the album’s fairweather king. While both of these elements on their own are simply outstanding, the conversational counterplay they create against one another is even more extraordinary. This trend is one which carries into the entire album, and Idols’ dynamic as a band.
Idols’ real crowning achievement on Choose Hate is their ability to create such stifling, angry instrumentals and such incredibly misanthropic vocals and lyrical content without overwhelming the listener. While machine-gun blast beats are rampaging and bone-blistering, skin-rending guttural vocals are roaring, the listener feels surrounded, immersed and enclosed, but not claustrophobic. They are in the midst of a mastery of balance. The band functions as a cohesive unit, diving from a breakneck, light-speed whirr into breakdowns so earth shatteringly heavy that, should they be played in Japan, there would be fear of tsunamis and earthquakes. The fluidity with which the band is able to shift from pace to pace while maintaing the same near-stifling but still atmospheric brand of hate is simply awe-inspiring. It’s an odd sensation to be in a state of awe and amazement while listening to such a demoralizing concept which drives such a bitter album, but that’s exactly what happens–the listener is in such a potent and unshakable form of awe that their jaw gets rug-burn.
Anger. Hate. Bitterness. Misanthropy. Rage. Destruction. All of these are fuel for Idols and their latest release, Choose Hate. The constant instrumental barrage combined with the constant vocal onslaught place a gun to the listener’s head and really Choose Hate. However, when the trigger is pulled, what comes out isn’t a bullet, or death, or blood, but rather sheer deathcore brilliance which pulls no punches and tackles the listener with no holds barred.
For Fans Of: Thy Art Is Murder, A Different Breed of Killer, Oceano, …And Hell Followed With
By: Connor Welsh