Reviewed by The Mad Mane Machine
This is our second review with insights on the album’s conceptual framework, genre choices, lead riffs and guitar solos. Read our first review of “Spaceless” HERE
Of the most popular metal genres, alternative metal is unlikely to receive an invite to the round table. Aside from a few countable bands alternative metal is left to scramble for the metal crumbs once every genre has claimed a stake of the general fanbase. I don’t know if the fans are that choosy around these parts, but on a worldwide, or better yet, scene-wise scale, people tend to thrive at classifying themselves as per their genres of utmost affection. Don’t get me wrong, the same people do enjoy various forms of metal, and music to an extent, but major preferences stick out like sore thumbs.
Where does all this take us? With Straight Line Connection, their brand of music is the least consumed, and on a dire note, it is from a young scene. This puts them at a disadvantage. Not to break hearts, they do have their moments. The lead single is a captivating number. Fight and Reconcile is the peak or highlight of their career, if I were hard-pressed to point it out. The trippy Tool-like intro just sets the mood right, while creating a balance for the aggression to ensue. This births a well-rounded track. It is also the best of their tracks so far.
Pardon the pun, Gun is blazing on the vocals, even though he strains a little when he hits the lower notes. His forte is his spoken/sung voice. The higher notes are also a bit just there. This brand of alternative metal borrows a few from the aforementioned Tool, and other riffs feel a little bit chuggy, like they were aiming for thrash, but kinda loses the spirit to be so. There is also a serving of breakdowns, as in the opener You Are. Thankfully the band keeps them to a minimum.
If I were to go with the solos served here, I’d say they were coherently hewn into the music, yet a little long-winded. A song having two solo sections, and a long rhythm section that is aiming to go for the same – they are not sung in so they pretty much claim a solo spot – is not helping much other than unnecessarily increase the song’s length. They also break into or start with soft passages in a bid to sound less monotonous, which makes it repetitive with its frequency.
The band is busy laying out its interpretation of life, or its observations, which is always a plus, rather than try being pseudo-intellectual which can cripple how a group is viewed when its pseudo-deep musings fail hard. It’s a shitty situation and somehow a way in which some of the Tool fans make it for the band. At the Edge and Text Walking just straddle what could have been heavy metal or thrash with the perfect nudge. This is what I really wish the band had pursued. The trippiness follows on the latter track, giving it a slight psychedelic feel, just like the intro to Fight and Reconcile.
Riff-wise they are okay, but a swifter genre for a change would even mean greener pastures. The only thing I’d love to see them keep is the psychedelic helpings that make parts of songs like Spaceless shine instrumentally. That would make for an actual unique band – psychedelic heavy or thrash metal as per their release hints. Only time remains for all to see. Godspeed on that should it happen!
With the release being rather lukewarm, as it lacks that oomph to catapult it, maybe a more applaudable genre is all they need to solve this. Their consolation would be they are in a scene that appreciates having a metal band, regardless of its genre’s popularity. Had they followed the hints of their riffs and angled for thrash or heavy metal, we would be talking of a different story. However Straight Line Connection is bound to find it’s feet sonically since this is still their debut release. And in comparison with other metal bands in the scene, they are way ahead in terms of output, this being only the second full-length album released by a metal band since the scene’s inception.
Spaceless is available for streaming and download on bandcamp