Metal and hardcore are generally the dominant genres in our ‘scene’ at the moment and it’s becoming increasingly rare that we see a band fronted by a clean vocalist truly break through. Richmond, Virginia’s Conditions find themselves on the receiving end of quite a feat then. Luckily for them, their new album, entitled ‘Full Of War’, seems to show that they’re full of pluck and ready to take on the challenge.
Initially the album begins with ‘One’, a track that gives a cheeky wink to the more grungy side of alternative. Think almost Balance & Composure in the way the vocals have a little discord in them and the guitars are weighted with distortion. This grungy feel doesn’t really last though and only hangs around for one track. Later songs like ‘Open Eyes’ and ‘Everyday Is A New Life’ have a more epic, 30 Seconds To Mars feel about them. It’s undeniably an emo album from circa 2005 released in 2013. That isn’t particularly a bad thing, but it does instantly date the sound and limits the album’s audience to people who will still whole heartedly admit they considered (or even got) a tattoo from a band on Fueled By Ramen‘s roster.
There’s not really a great deal to mention about the music itself, it’s not particularly challenging or progressive in any way and mainly the vocal work of Brandon Roundtree drives the songs. If Conditions are nothing else, they’re certainly a sing along band. I dare you to listen to the album and not have at least one of the melodies swimming around in your head afterwards.
Progression isn’t a necessity in ‘Full Of War’ though. Sure, the clichés are out in force in the form of the delay guitars; the slower song half way through the album that will break a teenage girls heart and the huge choruses that will incite arena like sing-alongs. The thing is that they’re done so well and with such conviction that there’s just something you can’t deny about them. Conditions are the band you love to hate but secretly adore, the band you listen to on your own, in your room, out of anyone who might judge’s earshot.
By the end of the album, I had admittedly grew tired of Conditions. I’m not sure anyone can handle this much emo/pop music without throwing up. It seems to be one of those albums where people will only know the first half of it, mainly because they occasionally might play a single for that poppy burst at parties and then turn it off as you start to reminisce about bands you used to listen to at a younger, tender age. Obviously there’s also something in there in terms of former fans, ‘Full Of War’ might find its market in fans that haven’t checked the band out in a while alongside the hangers on. It’s an anthem of an album, but I don’t think it’ll make it out of the club circuit. There’s only room for one handsome as fuck emo king and that seat is taken, sorry lads.
Written by Shaun Cole