Quite simply Transitions is the post-hardcore equivalent of popping candy; place it in the ears and it can seduce with a melodic calm and elegance which whets the appetite and then erupt in a tempestuous carnage of aggressive flavours and raucous temptation. The debut EP of US band Concepts, the release is a fascinating and compelling encounter, swiftly offering the evidence as to why there is a feisty buzz around the band right now but bursting with a potential suggesting we are only at the beginning of big things from and for the Houston quintet. Certainly the release is not flawless but there is barely a whisper to any ‘issues’ to temper any real enthusiasm for EP and band.
Concepts was formed in 2011 by Aaron Isbell and Jory Nunn, and despite undergoing a fair few line-up changes soon built up a thick following and potent reputation for a live presence which has seen the band play with the likes of Emery, Of Mice & Men, and Memphis May Fire, and indeed their inventive sound. Overcoming various hardships and financial difficulties which all emerging bands suffer to varying extents, the current line-up of Blake Williams, Cruz Stuart, and Barrett Powers alongside Isbell and Nunn, are ready to stir up real attention and fervour with their imaginative sound, and the Kris Crummett (Sleeping With Sirens, Alesana, Issues) mastered Transitions, the spark hoping to open new spotlights.
We labelled Concepts as post-hardcore early on but to be honest and straight away shown by EP opener Posthumous, the band’s sound is bred from a rawer voracious metalcore seeding, though the song also just as rapidly reveals there is plenty of flavoursome styles and scope within songs. Its opening is a portentous ambience with apocalyptic shadows which are soon splintered by ragged riffery and sonic toxicity. The mix of guttural spite and soaring melodic vocals is striking, superbly pitched and stealing attention though so too is the spiny rhythmic animosity and scarring djent sparked enterprise unleashed. Though the track does not quite light a major fire it leaves on a quite bewitching conclusion which lifts a good song into being a great one.
The following Mirrors caresses ears with a gentle stroking of keys cupped in a harmonic vocal hug. Of course the raw and instinctively aggressive character of the song has to emerge, which it does with a rugged and unpredictable savaging of the senses. The song carries on twisting between charmed melodic temptation and jaundiced belligerence, all driven by violent creativity. It is enthralling and pleases with ease if again not quite finding that final spark to ignite the passions.
Both tracks have a fluid and seamless maelstrom to them which continues across the whole release in varying ways, starting with the tantalising Vultures which from its first breath seems an easier going and more restrained slice of invention. It still holds an intimidating essence though which is given moments to uncage its rhythmic teeth and predatory hostility; scarring and ravenous expulsions which almost flirt with deathcore as well as a metalcore spawned barbarousness. Just as potent though is the harmonic croon and intimate melodies aligning the primal side of the song, they equally magnetic and unpredictable in imagination and tenacity.
The EP’s title track lays down its own unique landscape of virulent vicious rancor and melodic intrigue next; the former inciting ears and energies for the latter to swarm all over with harmonic passion. Keys and strings provide the additional lift to the song, their brief but opportune appearances a riveting texture to the ferocious snarl of the song.
The EP just gets better with every song and it is by its midway point that ardour is really aroused though the finest hour of Transitions comes with the closing Abomination. A grouchy vocal scowl sets things in motion with almost instantly heftily driven jagged riffs and pungently aggressive rhythms also lending their antagonistic hand to proceedings. It is a gripping and attention grabbing entrance by the encounter, which is soon expanding horizons and enterprise with great flames of clean vocals across a more melodically even tempered fury. It is a brewing storm though as both aspects of the track’s character entwine and flirt alternatively with its imposing narrative. From within dramatic keys and the increasingly impressive harmonies seduce too, giving slight respite from the increasingly carnivorous tempest around and beside them. It is a tremendous end to a thrilling release.
There are times where things, intricacies and nuances, get lost in the thick melee but never enough to defuse the invention and creative potency of songs and EP. Concepts is being talked of very highly right now, but expect bigger claims as Transitions lures in more and greater attention with its Betraying The Martyrs meets We Are the Ocean like, to give some idea, adventure.
The Transitions EP is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/transitions-ep/id956146009
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