Anewrage – 'Life-Related Symptoms' Album Review

Tracklist:

1. Upside Down

2. My Worst Friend

3. Dancefloor

4. Tomorrow

5. Evolution Circle

6. Floating Man

7. The 21st Century

8. Life Is You

9. Outside

10. All The Way

11. Insight

12. Clockwork Therapy

13. Wolves And Sirens

OK, I admit it, I am terrible at keeping up to date with what is considered ‘hot’ in pop culture. I started watching Breaking Bad two years after it was released, I gave One Direction a listen for the first time last week and I still haven't touched Pokemon Go. Don't get me wrong, I am not some fancy Will Self-type who avoids mass-entertainment, I just struggle to keep up to date with everything that has been laid out on the table. Alternative Rock, however, is an exception. I find that I can keep on top of it, even though it is one of those annoying pockets of music that somehow manages to squeeze the likes of Tom Waits and bands like The Locust into the same category. Sometimes I worry that music goes unnoticed and the thought of missing the ‘perfect band’ scares me, in so far that keeps me up at night. I was hoping that Anewrage would be that band. While this Italian four-piece initially tick all the boxes, it is only upon repeated listening do these ticks become full grown spiders.

Initially, I was preparing for something Proggy, Techy even, in part due to the Thorgerson style album cover; a disintegrating face that made me think of both Tron and Caligula simultaneously. In short, I found that this record is more akin to Spineshank or (mid nighties) Machinehead and less Tool and Dream Theatre. First track ‘Upside Down’ starts with some low guitar picking. A very Sikth- like rhythm section comes charging in and explodes into a souped out Linkin Park style chorus, with just a hint of bluegrass guitar - I know, it sounds odd. The song is very nearly the greatest Pop -Metal anthem, stifled somewhat by a peculiar middle 8 section. Next up is ‘My Worst Friend’, perhaps the most ‘Post- Hardcore’ track on the record. It bridges two sub-genres together, representatives of both Nu-Metal and Emo will shake hands and pogo all over this song. The Maiden heavy guitars disappear when the song hits the verse. Vocalist/guitarist Axel Capurro uses this opportunity to give his best early noughties Aggro-Metal. ‘Dancefloor' next and it is shame really because the Rammstein meets Michael Jackson verse will get you head-banging all over the place. Sadly the chorus fails to draw you in, leaving the song deflated. The songs ‘Tomorrow, ‘Outside’ and ‘Wolves And Sirens’ are very similar in narrative and texture. They are apocalyptical songs. One can imagine any of these songs being played in the background to some Michael Bay explosive heavy backdrop. ‘Evolution Circle’ bridges Primus, Billy Howerdel (of Perfect Circle fame) and Static X. Its perhaps the most ‘bouncy’ song completed with quintessential Funk-Metal breakdown. The band then try to emulate Trent Reznor with ‘Clockwork Therapy’ but it comes across more Marilyn Manson than Gary Numan, certainly not a bad thing, but like most tracks on this record, its more ‘Pop’ than ‘Alternative’. The last song is ‘Insight’. This, in my opinion, is their greatest on the record. The song features a nice speedy rhythm, diving into a catchy verse that features an ‘interval jump’ we have all heard a million times before. This song make heavy use of backing vocals, delayed guitars and a complex sense of self reflection that makes you really believe in the subject matter.

This record is an audio adhesive, a gooey substance that fills gaps between Nu-Metal, Industrial Metal and Hard Rock. My issues with the record are within its all-inclusiveness and the fact that the album is incontestably ‘Pop’. If we are to assume the band want to replicate and write the next 'Hybrid Theory' or perhaps even Machine Heads 'The Burning Red' then the band might want to focus on bigger hooks and less on technical dexterity. That said, 'Life-Related Symptoms' still packs a punch and there are loads of ideas swimming about. Any listener willing give the music the time of day will reel in some nice little ditties.

Check out their video for 'Upside Down'

Website - www.anewrage.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ANEWRAGE/

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