Anyone who has any knowledge into the post-hardcore/metalcore scene of today will know that Issues and their self-titled debut album has obtained enough hype to easily be one of the most anticipated debut records that we will see all year. Following the critical success of the band’s ‘Black Diamonds’ EP back in 2012 and their ‘Hooligans’ single last year, the band’s unconventional blend of pop and R&B into the genre, along with frontmen Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn‘s former band Woe, Is Me eventually sinking ship, the hope for something spectacular from the Atlanta based outfit only swelled.
All worries can be set aside then, as Issues pick-up from where ‘Black Diamonds’ left off perfectly and deliver a 12-track record that continues to channel almost equal proportions of post-hardcore as they do pop and R&B, thanks to in the insatiable vocals of Tyler Carter.
Admittedly, compared to the quick shot of the EP, ‘Issues’ is an album that needs a few spins to be fully digested, but it’s those clean hooks from Carter and ‘Hybrid Theory’-era Linkin Park of turntable scratching and programming from Tyler “Scout” Acord that slowly coax you into the album, before Mike Bohn and co. grab you by the throat and pin you into a submission of repeated plays.
There’s so many highlights scattered across this record; ‘The Langdon House’ sees a trade-off between Bohn and Carter that’s almost a better partnership than plumbing duo Mario and Luigi, ‘Mad At Myself’ and ‘Late’ could fit in quite as easily in your favourite rock club as it would in your standard dance club (maybe), ‘Tears On The Runway, Pt. 2’ is one of the more heartfelt cuts thanks to a guest appearance from Nylo, ‘Never Lose Your Flames’ is a banner held high for the kids of this generation looking for a light out of the dark tunnel, and ‘Personality Cult’ is one of 2014’s first true call-to-arms anthem. It’s hard to find a con from start-to-finish.
However, Issues leave the best ’til last, with the heart-wrenching ‘Disappear (Remember When)’, an ode from Tyler Carter to his departed friend and reason for wanting to pursue a career in music, Rachel Reece. The emotional turmoil of Carter is evident throughout, even at times when trying to deliver his lyrics. It’s the honesty and bear all nature that induces goosebumps and makes this a true album highlight. The track’s chorus “Remember when I didn’t need you? / Well, I need you now”, sung out by a gospel choir not only marks another area where Issues aren’t afraid to explore stylistically, but upon closing off the album cements Issues as one of the genre’s brightest hopes. Expect Issues to truly explode before 2014 comes to end.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)