Album: Que Sera Sera
Sometimes, when the world as you know it seems to be crumbling all around you, there is a feeling of desperation, remorse and calamity. The feeling that you can change the outcome, that this falls on your shoulders, and yours alone. Other times, however, there is no desperation. No remorse, no panic–just helplessness. Times like these which call for just one thing: abandon. Times like these, the only thing you can do is push forward, with the mindset that whatever happens, happens. Australian metalcore act PledgeThis! seem all too familiar with this concept, especially in light of their latest release, Que Sera Sera, an album so immensely persevering in delivering relentlessly heavy, yet touchingly melodic music to the listener, that it feels almost as if the end of the world could not stop it.
Que Sera Sera is one part crushing, down-tempo heaviness and one part redeeming, melodic wonder. PledgeThis! have absolutely no qualms with opening the album showing off their devastating, steam-rolling beatdown side. Opening with the bunker-busting “Judgement Day,” and rolling right on into the powerhouse that is “Stuck On Repeat,” a constant barrage of harsh, explosive percussion and ripping, tearing guitars pummel the listener into submission. This is further amplified in “La Jument,” which makes stellar use of guest vocalist Dave Naylor (of Shinto Katana) and an absolutely lacerating climactic breakdown to inflict nothing but the purest and heaviest beatdown upon the listener. The toggled attack of punctual drumming and down-tuned, chugged guitars is topped off perfectly with harsh, grating vocals which rip and claw at the listener’s ear drums in the best way possible. The pervasive, punishing nature of Que Sera Sera doesn’t end there, though: “Snakes and Daggers” is two minutes and seventeen seconds of pure, limitless anger and resentment which catches the listener off-guard and is easily one of the album’s highlights.
However, where there are desolate graveyards of unyielding brutality on Que Sera Sera, there are also groves of groove-laden beauty. Moments of “Roberta Sparrow” and “Real Talk” are so enormously driven by groove-fronted melody and six-stringed harmonization that the moments of back-breaking brutality heard earlier in the track seem as if a distant memory. Que Sera Sera’s title track employs a similar tactic, sneaking in moments of ethereal beauty between accents of blood-chillingly cold and surreptitious beatdown. The glory found in these scant moments of melody are much needed, as, not only do they break up some of the slight monotony which is bound to plague any full length. While monotony might not be the right word, it does fit the bill–there is a rather persistently aggressive sound that PledgeThis! bring to the table, and, in light of that, these moments of variety shine like a brilliant, climactic sunset–only to be observed for it’s last glimmering moments before plunging back into darkness, taking the atmosphere of the album with it.
It’s moments like those glimmering sunsets of pure, unexpected melodic bliss which allow Que Sera Sera to shine as much as it does. If there’s one thing which I find to be completely irritating when it comes to music, it’s persistent predictability. PledgeThis! avoid this brilliantly, by perfecting an aggressive, dissonant beat-down atmosphere, and using it to it’s full extent, splitting it up with moments of rare, but much-needed solace. Whether it’s tracks like “Que Sera Sera” that use that ongoing atmosphere as a means to accentuate the song’s heavier components, or tracks like “Real Talk” which incorporate it only briefly as if to make a statement, the fact is, the element is there, providing an oasis from the barren, bone-splintering wasteland which is the prevailing mood PledgeThis! bring to the table.
It’s been a long time coming, but PledgeThis! certainly deliver with Que Sera Sera. Clashing hard-hitting breakdowns and disemboweling dissonance with gripping, grimy grooves and marvelous melody, the album is far more than the sum of it’s two parts. Rather, it is a completely immersive experience in which the listener can find rest and respite moments after being pummeled and pulverized.
By: Connor Welsh
For Fans Of: Shinto Katana, Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside, Sworn In