In terms of standing out, you may naturally be up against it if you play contemporary metalcore, but London newcomers TheCityIsOurs‘ debut offering ‘Low’ leaves a lot to be desired.
‘Ashes’ has a hint of promise with its heaviness, but when it segues into ‘Bare Bones’, your hopes, or fears, are confirmed. This song follows the modern metalcore formula so rigidly that you may as well have heard the entire album at this point, and ‘Casket’ continues to offer cliché after cliché. Are you going to hear a syrupy chorus after an oh-so-brutal verse? You can bet your can of Monster Energy you are.
Thankfully, ‘Now That You’re Gone’ deviates slightly from the usual pattern and is a clear highlight; a programmed drum intro peaks some interest, and its chorus nicely recalls the melodies of Thrice. This is certainly the best song on here, and it’s nice that there’s a saving grace. Unfortunately, what follows is multiple inferior versions of this song, forming one big non-descript vortex.
The record’s title-track offers some of the band’s technical chops at the beginning, which are certainly commendable, but it’s a genuine struggle to separate some songs from one another. Scan through a past Vans Warped Tour bill and these choruses and breakdowns could belong to dozens of bands you pick out. The same guitar sounds, the same drum sounds, the same formulas – the same everything.
‘If You Know, You Know’‘s almost nu-metal intro would otherwise be merely a footnote, but the fact that it’s a slight deviation from what’s come before is something to write home about. This is one of the better cuts, with some solid vocal hooks, but the build-up to the breakdown in the second half is agonisingly drawn-out. In a similar vein to most of the record, it’s a struggle to offer any other thoughts. The heavier sections feel incredibly hackneyed, and the cleaner parts are largely on the saccharine side of things.
The hook of “I forget, I forget” in ‘Here At All’ is an accidental summation of everything. This is a totally forgettable record indeed, and the hand-claps-and-gospel-choir ending is particularly cheesy.
If you’re into The Amity Affliction and bands of their ilk, you’ll certainly enjoy this, but TheCityIsOurs have some way to go before they can sit with the cream of the metalcore crop. ‘Low’ resembles less a cohesive body of work that flows together, but more a meagre collection of songs that blend into one another. As this is their debut album, you can only wish that a future release will prove all the opinions offered above to be wrong later on.