As you know, we’ve been actively searching for some new writers. We’ve had some amazing submissions so far and we’re still getting in more! One that really caught our eye was submitted by Chad Brown in his review for Facedown Records band, Colossus and their sophomore effort Badlands. You can check it out below but we’d like you to give a warm welcome to Chad, or Chadwicky297 as he will be known here, as the newest member of our ever-growing family! Keep an eye out for his review of the recently released 3rd full-length album Legacy, from Hope For the Dying very soon! If you’d like to contact him for an album review, you may do so at: Chadwicky297@new-transcendence.com, starting today!
“My name is Chad, Chadwick for short! I’m 24 years old, married to my wonderful wife Elyse, and the non-biological father of three slightly insane dogs. Metal is an essential part of my diet, and I take it in forms from near indiscernible brutal death metal to ambient post-hardcore with a good ol’ indie vibe to it. I highly enjoy writing, gaming, bowling (or sucking horrendously at bowling) and I fancy myself as a plentiful purveyor of pizza! I have two bachelor’s degrees in History and Communications, and I’m currently working on a master’s in Theology. “
Genre/Subgenre: Metalcore/ Deathcore
Shades of Gray
Smashing back onto the scene with their sophomore full-length album, Colossus makes a return with Badlands. I loved their first full-length, Time and Eternal, so much that when the Facedown preorders went online, I scrambled to MerchNow and cried like Fry from Futurama, “Shut up and take my money!!”. The rhetorical question I now pose to you, dear readers, is “Was it worth it?” Instead of staring at my computer screen and waiting for answers, I will tell you! Read on, interwebber!
Normally, it drives me absolutely crazy whenever any band starts out with a little, often completely unnecessary, one-minute intro track that could be easily slapped on to the next full song. HOWEVER, this was not the case with the first, and title track “Badlands”. I was immediately transported to a native, primal world with the pounding tribal drums, discordant flutes, and didgeridoo-esque reverberating hums in the background; feeling something akin to the “thrill of the hunt” that led up to a crushing guitar intro, which was the perfect Segway to the first full song on the album, “Demons’”. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT’S how you do an intro track!
From there, “Demons’” seems to set the tone well for the rest of the album; which is an album of struggle.
Admittedly, there are chunks of the album that I felt like were standard deathcore/ metalcore thoroughfare nowadays; djenty guitars and familiar sounding riffs, yet, especially speaking for myself here, you’ll be too caught up by the interesting elements and breakdowns in between to notice. “Shades of Gray” and “Outcast” are outstanding examples of this, with the groovy yet brutal breakdowns and quite headbangable hooks. The ominous and somewhat ethereal sweeping guitars in some of the tunes also add a nice touch.
The drums are solid throughout the album, and keep the rhythm and pulse going through this metal-encased journey through the band’s personal “badlands”. And although I don’t typically try to give to much stock to production quality, which is not necessarily indicative of a band’s skill, I have to give credit where credit’s due; the production quality is on point!
I would definitely classify this musically as deathcore, through and through, but occasionally, the genre “limits” are crossed, like in the song “Worthless” that begins similarly to many hardcore bands. It doesn’t put me off at all, though, if that’s what you’re wondering!
Alex Gutziner delivers a great vocal performance on this album, staying pretty much in the same mid-range, but occasionally places well-timed growls to enhance the brutality of the album’s key breakdowns and moments. There is a notable change in style and vocalics, however, from their previous album, where I feel there was a greater vocal variety.
The back-up vocals by guitarist Jim Hughes, however, were a bit abrasive at first, chiming in with a higher pitched, almost whiney scream in the background. As mentioned before, though, this minor complaint fades away in amidst the brutality throughout.
This is probably where the album resonated with me the most. Colossus has impressed me with their lyrics in Time and Eternal, but I feel that the theme of “Badlands” was very well executed and remained cohesive through all ten tracks. Whenever the album title was revealed as “Badlands”, I was confused at first. Yet, as I listened, the theme behind each song embodies a different kind of struggle, especially what we as Christians endure. “Demons’” represents our endless struggle against Satan, as well as against our own sin nature, “Outcast” encapsulates the persecution of the world against those who truly live for Christ, and so on and so forth. Each song takes the listener to a different part of the “Badlands” of life, but the truth and the light of Christ is ultimately shown.
One of my favorite lines from the album, which I have to mention, is “If we’re all equal, why is God the problem, not the people?”; an interesting thought!
As a whole, the lyrics never struck me as generic or overused, a trap that many bands seem to fall into these days (a side-effect of over-saturation of the metal industry I’d say), and the messages all are unique and relate-able.
Overall: Colossus’ sophomore effort is one that is filled with groovy, if not sometimes repetitive, riffs and bone-crushing breakdowns. Beneath the brutality lies a greater a relate-able theme of problems, trials, and personal “Badlands” that we experience on a day-to-day basis. This is an album that begs multiple listens to truly capture the messages it conveys and to contemplate them; something I believe that’s unusual in this particular sub-genre of metal. I would certainly recommend this to any fan of other acts on Facedown Records, Colossus fans, as well as those who are in to metalcore and deathcore.
I will not be giving number scores or ratings in my reviews, but I will assign a phrase or word that best sums up the album!
Badlands earns the Chadwickian Music Review title…..
PRETTY DARN NIFTY