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Releases of the Week: The Sleeping & Seneca by subsonicd1sc0rd
February 23, 2009, 1:19 am
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , ,

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The Sleeping – What It Takes

The Sleeping played one of the first “shows” I ever attended back in 2004. I had never heard anything like their unique mix of jam-based melody and post-hardcore fury. Singer Doug Robinson put on a passionate performance and guitarist Cameron Keym used an innumerable amount of effect pedals to achieve a spacey atmosphere (reminiscent of former melodic hardcore outfit, Skycamefalling). There was such natural aggression on their debut album, Believe What We Tell You; when Robinson’s voice broke into a harsh scream, it was organic, not forced. Coupled with Sal Mignano’s heartfelt bass work and Joe Zizzo’s syncopated beats, there was an element of balance that most other bands in the genre had a real problem achieving. Their Victory Records debut, Questions And Answers, saw The Sleeping perfect their craft, leaving a future that looked quite promising… until Keym announced his departure.

Recruiting a new guitarist and keyboardist/organist, this redefined group recorded twelve songs that are way more accessible and way less The Sleeping. The first track, entitled “You’ll Be A Corpse Before Your Time”, is an outstanding introduction and a real fake-out; the driving drumbeat, catchy chorus, and well-placed organ showcase the energetic sound that the band has become known for. However, when I came to the shocking realization that the organ is used (often obnoxiously) in every song, What It Takes began to sound like an uneventful baseball game. Sure, there are great moments, such as the beautiful and ambient “Running Faster,” but as an album, What It Takes does not have the staying power of The Sleeping’s other two releases. I hate to say it, but the boys from Long Island are sounding a bit formulaic; I truly hope they find their niche again.

 

Seneca – Reflections

Metalcore is a fairly outdated genre; there’s only a certain amount of originality that a band can convey while sticking to this formula. Nonetheless, the choppy breakdown in Seneca’s opening track, “Optical”, put a huge smile on my face. Produced by master engineer, Jamie King, Reflections is nothing more than a metalcore album, but I’m okay with that. It’s been a while since I let myself enjoy the simplistic power of a little chug-chug. All joking aside, Seneca are a group with serious potential, utilizing technical guitar sweeps and blast beats galore to bombard the listener. Not only does this album shred, but it has moments of serenity as well; for example, the song “Illusions” is a quiet number featuring clean harmonies and soaring leads.

Don’t worry… it’s not all like that. Putting across a real Glass Casket vibe, Seneca frontman Corey Page dominates the furious “Creator” with some of the most vicious vocals I’ve heard in recent times. While the drumming is fairly generic and the riffing can sound repetitive, metalcore fanatics will definitely find much to like about Reflections.

– Jeremy Garber

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