Artist: Invent, Animate
Without a doubt, at some point in your life you’ve heard the saying change is the only constant. Whether you were familiar with the Change of Pace EP by the same name, or it was just something your father muttered, sullenly sipping his morning coffee and reading the morning paper, you’ve definitely heard it somewhere—and now, with the release of Invent, Animate’s debut full length album, you’ve witnessed it in action, too. A bright, bewildering release by these prodigal Texan Titans of groove and ambience, Everchanger is an album that defines flux as it constantly oscillates between moments of straightforward aggression, over-the-top atmosphere and riff-driven head-bobbing grooviness. While it might not be true that change is the only constant, it’s definitely the driving power and constant source of energy for Everchanger, an album that is sure to rest in your car’s stereo unchanged for weeks to come.
Instrumentally, Everchanger is the bastard child of Barrier’s Dark Days and Northlane’s entire discography. Trey Celaya provides incessant aggression and energy behind the drums, perfecting everything from lacerating blast-beats and super-speedy fills (“Courier” exemplifies this) to splashy, room-filling color and spacy, atmospheric beats (like those found in “Forest Haven” and throughout “Half-Life.”) Celaya is the root structure to the thick—but vivid—forest that is Invent, Animate’s instrumental dynamic. As his booming, immense percussive beats provide structure and life to the band’s sound, the empty spaces are filled in by bassist Caleb Sherraden, who, on tracks like the albums introduction, “Sol,” plays a key role in adding thickness and meat to hypermelodic portions that might otherwise feel empty. Sherraden works around Celaya’s crushing, rampaging drumming to provide a more tangible and physical body for the album—bark that lines Celaya’s figuratively bare root structure and thick, integral trunk. As Celaya and Sherraden spiral upwards, building a marvelous, ancient oak of metalcore prowess, the branches extend, intertwining and attracting life—life in the forms of the fretwork provided by Logan Forrest and Keaton Goldwire. Forrest and Goldwire produce brilliant riffs, gyrating grooves and absolutely gruesome moments of drop-of-a-dime heaviness with the ease of a bird landing on a branch or taking flight from it. The two guitarists brilliantly swoop to and fro, looping around each other—and around the scaffolding provided by Celaya and Sherraden—to create immense soundscapes of pure nature and vivacity. “Moon Phase,” for example, shows each musician providing the full range of their talents—Celaya hits everything from bone-busting fills to juicy, splashy cymbal work that lights up the room. Meanwhile, Sherraden’s thick, booming bass fuses with the chugs and grooves of Forrest and Goldwire when they reach earthly lows of grit and gore—at other times, they busy themselves with soaring to the heavens, combining shreddy riffing and stellar harmonies to provide a perfectly progressive metalcore experience.
Where Invent, Animate paint stellar soundscapes with musical brushes and paints of dynamic songwriting and infallible tone, their vocals provide the story that drives the piece truly home. Vocalist Ben English sounds as if he may as well be a fill-in for Northlane—with a harsh, grating mid-range shout that perfectly anchors Forrest and Goldwire’s hither-and-to style of shredding. When their chugs are low and ominous, his vocals keep the song level-headed and moving forward (“Courier,” again, showcasing this brilliantly). However, as Sherraden and Goldwire reach for the stars, English is capable of reaching a nearly-shrill scream—or a craftily, catchily crooned clean—that compliments it perfectly; as in “Eventide” or the ending to “Forest Haven.” English is a perfect source of vocal diversity that ranges from gruff, low bellows and beautiful clean singing to catch the ear of practically any listener. Whether it’s the heartfelt emotion in “Luna,” and the lyrics that reflect brotherhood and humanity, or the catchy crooning of reeeeturn to seeeender throughout the conclusion to “Courier,” English is always present and always providing context for the crushing, inventive instrumentation that lets Everchanger keep moving along in an unpredictable—but beautiful—manner.
Everchanger is what listening to nature—untouched by machinery or the malice of man—must feel like. Each song flows fluidly into the next, providing its own micro-environment that, in turn, fills in the album’s greater ecosystem. Every track—whether it be the climax to “Sol,” the introduction to “Eventide” or the duration of “Luna”—ranges from moments of jarring heaviness to fluffy, ethereal ambience so brilliantly that the listener feels as if the chair was pulled cleanly from beneath them. English is absolutely brilliant—reaching every vocal range imaginable so easily it feels almost as if he isn’t even trying. Meanwhile, Celaya provides percussion that would make even the clumsiest listener want to take up drumming, and Forrest’s interplay with Goldwire and Sherraden is a trifecta of furiously fretted mayhem—but only when it fits the mood. Otherwise, everything is just that—in flux—to reach out to every listener and give them something truly wonderful—something that will, in turn, make them want to create. In this turn, Everchanger propagates the very cyclic nature of life, giving both destructive heaviness and the will and desire to provide something new and invigorating.
Feel the ebb and flow of nature pulsing through your headphones—plug in Everchanger and get completely lost. Invent, Animate do wondrous job of inventing an immersive, engaging blend of hard-hitting heaviness and awe-inspiring atmosphere, and then animate it, bringing it to life as it takes root in the listener’s head. While at times, English might find himself channeling Northlane too much, or the band might get lost in their own dynamic, that shouldn’t stop the listener from enjoying all that Everchanger has to offer—and to witness a true game-changer in the process.
For Fans Of: Barrier, Northlane, Erra, InDirection, In Hearts Wake
By: Connor Welsh