Review: In Loving Memory – Introspective

Artist: In Loving Memory
Album: Introspective

It’s no secret that the New York City area has an insane amount of talent. With bands like Sylar, our friends in Varsity and It Gets Worse and many more blazing a trail through today’s metal scene, it’s a mecca of rising stars. Just under two years into their career, In Loving Memory is a band that has been on our radars since the beginning. Before the official release of their debut EP, Stand My Ground, in 2015 they gained a lot of attention with their covers, which took on a life of their own. With the release of that EP, they began to catch even more attention in the -core community and beyond, appealing to fans of post-hardcore, alternative and pop genres. Stand My Ground, was a shot to everyone who said that they couldn’t do it, to anyone who would put them down or make them feel ashamed for chasing their dreams. The title, very much, spoke for itself and gives you a good idea of what these guys can do but, as with most debuts, it showed some naivete’ and inexperience in some aspects.

Fast forward to 2017, the band has grown immensely. Individually and collectively, they’ve worked hard at their dreams and they’ve faced a lot of hardships in the process. Facing his breaking point, vocalist Naveed Stone decided he was ready to let fans into his struggles, as well as the struggles that the band faced. In the most literal sense of the word, enter Introspective, the band’s sophomore EP. By definition, introspective is a self-analysis and inward look into an individual. True to the title, this is the most deeply personal album that the band has ever written, especially on a lyrical level.

The album opens up with the awe-inspiring track “Forthright.” Light, xylophone-esque bells, gang vocals and an orchestral arrangement play into Stone’s proclamation of “introspective and afraid, I’ve been told that it’s not okay to fight what we can’t understand. Starved for purpose, well here I am!” Throughout this track, the focus is put on Stone’s incredible vocal talent. While this isn’t the only song on the album to exclusively feature clean vocals, it definitely gives you an idea of what he can do. The message here is to find your purpose, cling to it and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing the wrong thing. The journey of self-discovery is equally made up of the things we do wrong and right, the outcomes of those decisions and what we do about them. No matter what you do, make it count because, when the clock stops ticking… the only thing you leave behind is the impact you’ve made on this world. Will your legacy be a good one? As it’s said “Heroes get remembered but LEGENDS never die!”

“Lone Wolf,” the second single/track from the album takes a much different turn. Guitarists Jon Conway and Vito Racanelli set a dark, foreboding scene when things kick in. Here, we see Stone and Conway doing a vocal tête-à-tête, beginning to show you how deadly the dynamic between them can be. My favorite part of this track is the way that the line “I’ll be my own light when it’s dark outside!” is screamed before the breakdown, where drummer/producer Thomas Diognardi takes the reigns for the most part. While the chorus has a pop flavor to it, it doesn’t soften the track by any means. If you’re looking for something on the heavier side from this band, look no further than “Lone Wolf.”

The album has it’s own sort of ebb-and-flow, both through individual tracks and as a whole, creating more of an epic feel to it. There’s even a more pop-punk/easycore vibe on “Getaway” which is one of the catchiest, and most accessible, tracks the band has ever written. In fact, it will probably go down along with “Finna Smash” as one of the fan favorites. It’s not quite poppy enough to be a Top-40 hit but it could definitely do well on the mainstream.

“Weathered” is a track that really sees each individual musician shine, in their own right, making it my favorite. Stone sings about the pain of love lost, where the chorus sees his range extend beyond what we’ve seen in the past. The main riff for this track has already found itself stuck in my head a few times. With minimal screams (and those in the background), I could honestly see this track hitting mainstream rock stations and doing exceptionally well. While it’s clear that this track has it’s roots set deep in the metal genre, it has an active rock vibe to it and an undeniably catchy chorus.

Whatever your poison, Introspective, has something that will quench your thirst. Beyond anything, though, this album will connect with (and seek to heal) those who have been through similar situations. While this is definitely the band’s best work to date, it’s clear that this is only the beginning. If you’re a fan of music that is on the cusp of just about every facet of rock/-core, with strong messages/themes and you can scream your lungs out to, cry to or sing along to… Introspective is the album you need to pick up. Support In Loving Memory and independent music by picking up your copy, out tomorrow!

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