Album: Shadow Play
Much of what we see every day is little more than an elaborate façade—a veil meant to hint at but not reveal the true nature of things. This is true of other people and their emotions, just as it’s true of politics and the global social-economic stratus.
Things are never as they are—they are simply what others wish them to seem like.
If you understand that, then you’re ready to truly experience what metalcore masterminds QuietKind have in store for you. On the surface, sure, it’s a punchy, powerful collection of tracks. Deeper though, it examines emotion in a truly introspective fashion—and even deeper, it takes on politics and the state of the human condition in 2017, 2018 and beyond. No matter what “level” of Shadow Play you’re along for, there’s absolutely no denying that you will absolutely enjoy every second of the ride.
Shadow Play is groovy and intense, combining crushing aggression with bouncy, bold beats and sprinkles of subtle technicality—providing an instrumental backbone to the release bound to appease lovers of lurid breakdowns and proggy, djenty metalcore alike. What’s even more surprising is that QuietKind are, ultimately, a trio—with instrumental duties falling squarely on the shoulders of percussionist Dolan Kallin and guitarist Evan Jordon. Together, Kallin’s quick and unpredictable footwork provides a foundation for Jordon’s punchy, powerful breakdowns as well as his furiously fretted leads and the immensely fun and catchy patterns abundant on the (mostly) instrumental closer, “Twilight.” While the instrumental closer highlights the most intricate interplay between Kallin and Jordon, just about every track—from the first incendiary groove of “Dawn”—sees the duo working beautifully together. The raw and harsh “Failed State” focuses on brash aggression, loaded with pummeling breakdowns—While “Dawn” and “Dusk” are a more balanced sampling of groove and grisly heaviness. The duo oscillate in this fashion back and forth, never really weighing too heavily on the listener with successive brutalizing segments, but certainly get heavy enough to make it known that they’re proficient in the art of the breakdown.
Vocally, QuietKind’s dynamic sound finds a midpoint with the varied styles employed by frontman Nick Becher. “Dawn,” as well as “Limbo” or “Stray” see Becher’s raw, ruthless mid-range yells dominating, just as “Failed State” or Shadow Play’s title track see Becher’s lows taking on more airtime. Becher is talented as both a vocalist and a lyricist—touching on politics throughout the middle and back-half of the release, where the opening two songs are much more introspective and emotional, exposing more of Becher’s insides than songs like “Failed State” which linger on social discontent. While Becher might not being much in the way of “new” vocal styles or “you HAVE to hear this” moments, his fit for the remainder of QuietKind is simply impeccable. Becher completes the intimately blended dynamic that QuietKind boast—as many points of Shadow Play are the best interplay between members of a progressive metalcore act since Structures ruled the scene.
QuietKind do a lot of things well, and honestly don’t do anything wrong. There are some things they don’t do—and often feel dangerously close to “another djenty metalcore band” with only a thin margin of talent and catchiness mixed with raw punch to separate themselves from the masses of “bwow-wow-chugga” bands stuck back in 2011. Plus—I’ll be honest, and maybe I speak for more people than me—but I didn’t want another song about Donald-fucking-Trump. We get it, he sucks. With that aside, the rest of Shadow Play is booming, both fun and intelligent—not to mention heavy where needed. If nothing else, “Twilight” is a simply cool closer, an apt fitting to an otherwise incinerating album.
For Fans Of: Structures, The Northern, Veil Of Maya, Volumes
By: Connor Welsh