For fans of Attack Attack!, Emmure, and I Killed The Prom Queen come The Browning; a band that mixes EDM and metalcore into a genre that has become better known as crunkcore. Sometimes there are bands that challenge the way a genre like this is taken. Sadly, this band and their new album, ‘Isolation’, prove to not be one of those occasions.
The band use quite a generic sounding blast beat formula throughout the majority of this album. With drummer Cody Stewart and bassist Rick Lalicker trying to sound as heavy as possible, the notion of any subtlety from the guitar or even the electronics (which is what sets this band apart) is lost to the group wanting to sound as brutal as possible. This is something which hinders any sense of enjoyment on this album, and quite frankly makes the release somewhat of a chore to listen to.
This can actually be seen on the likes of ‘Cryosleep’, where the electronics of Johnny McBee take the song in one way when a breakdown suddenly interrupts his flow. This is a musician that would benefit as having his own EDM project away from The Browning. McBee is a great dubstep creator, but frankly is given very little flexibility to demonstrate this.
Unfortunately, his guttural screams and acts as a frontman aren’t great. Whilst the album tries to sound heavy at points, some of the lyrics can seem really jolting and actually makes you wonder why he is angry. With lyrics throughout such as on ‘Phantom Dancer’ stating, “I will haunt you every step that you take”, whcih makes the band seem quite disjointed from any real subject matter and instead focusing on ambiguity. This would be good, but with the sound of a deathcore-esque scream and generic metalcore instrumention the backdrop, this feels more so like a generic metal track.
‘Isolation’ has some ridiculous but funny moments, including the intros to ‘Phantom Dancer’ and ‘Disconnect’, with this deepened voice that is meant to sound quite serious, but actually is quite laughable. The work of Frankie Palmeri (of Emmure) on this release is something that just feels ridiculous on its own merits. With him rapping over ‘Disconnect’, and with the best line in metal “I don’t want your fucking friend request” sang within the context of the song, this is something that feels purely stupid and ridiculous. This is a track which needs to be heard to be believed, but one that sadly isn’t good in the slightest.
In conclusion, ‘Isolation’ is an album that feels both stale and out of touch with metal in 2016. The band trying to be ‘down with the kids’ at this point feels embarrassing, and, minus the few times listeners can laugh at (not with) the band makes the release seem stale and, quite frankly, a waste of time.
Written by Bradley Cassidy (@bradcassidy170)