Band: Among Them
Release: Coming And Going
Date of release: 27/04/2018
Genre: Progressive Melodic Hardcore
Record Label: N/A
For Fans Of: Counterparts, Northlane, Vacant Home
Next Gig: TBA
"Is this the reality I’m part of? To be afraid of everything and everyone"
Innovation. This is the first word that comes to mind when listening to Perth based Among Them's debut release, "Coming and Going" which dropped just the other day on April 27th.
This release takes the listener on, what I'd describe to be, a trip through a tumultuous dream. The way these young fellas mix dreamy clean guitars over the abrasive djenty rhythm is so unique and effective that I couldn't help but be impressed. The raw and emotional screams add to this atmosphere in an almost nostalgic way, which I think these guys have picked up on as they've used a real 90s influence in not only some of the guitar tones and chords on this release but also in the music videos as is particularly evident for the music video to 'Purpose' below.
With 'Meaning', the first track these guys released and the first of the album, the vibe is instantly set in place. The poppy chords over the pounding kick drums and harsh vocals sets one up for somewhat of an Ambleside experience and then suddenly the chugs kick in and all expectations head out the window. This track floats in and out of musical ideas but keeps everything tied together nicely with convincing transitions. For me the biggest highlight of this track was a breakdown right at the end which features a faded clean guitar playing this dreamy shoegaze style lick over a really hard breakdown; something I've never heard pulled of this well. A really impressive opener to the album.
Now while I understand not every song can be an absolute banger, I feel this album suffers from a bit of "sameness", by which I mean that there are a few tracks I feel don't have the same memorability that we got from the opening track for example. First occurance of this phenomenon being track 2, 'Below Ground'. Now let me make this clear, this is not a bad song. It's still very enjoyable and interesting, but simply lacks the same catchiness and impressionable impact of some of the other songs on this release. Songs like this don't hurt the atmosphere of the release, but perhaps will tire out repeat listeners after their 4th or 5th time listening start to finish.
Track three 'Still' kicks in and lets us know right out the gate that it's going to be a fun listen with the juxtaposition of the clean and dreamy guitars (which features some really cool backmasking, props to whoever made the decision to include that extra little detail) and the intense rhythmic punchiness we get at around 45 seconds in. This song does a lot of things really well, in particular the chorus section (I guess? doesn't repeat but it feels like a chorus) with those really fucking cool tremolo leads. Again these boys utilize the dreamy guitars over a heavy chuggy breakdown to great effect, which I don't feel will get old any time soon. I could talk all day about this track, but really you just need to listen for yourself.
The next two songs on the album 'Something Else' and 'Grip' are borderline between suffering from that "sameness" and being absolute bangers. Both of these tracks have really cool and memorable moments but aren't as constantly enticing as some other tracks on this record. I fear repeat listeners might skip these to get to the more memorable tracks to come like 'There's No Place Like Home' and 'Purpose', but that said I am being very critical here. These songs are still beautiful and great representations of what Among Them is capable of, just not as good as some of the tracks on this release, which I feel is a great achievement for such a new band.
Track six, 'Everything Turned Into You' marks the midway point of the album. This track serves as somewhat of an interlude, being mostly instrumental with only a couple faded vocals at the start and some intense screams to close out this song. While it wouldn't go on my playlists, this track sits well in the narrative of the album and gives the listener somewhat of a breather. This song is a well thought out piece that keeps the listener immersed in the world that Among Them have built up to this point.
The next two songs on the album, 'There's No Place Like Home' and 'Purpose' are absolute bangers. The guitars carry a 90s nostalgia that is expertly woven in amongst the modern ideas and tones that they employ in such excellent fashion. 'There's No Place Like Home' features a crushing breakdown that I absolutely loved and never let's up it's pace whilst 'Purpose' demonstrates Among Them's versatility and erratic songwriting in full force. Both of these tracks are must listens.
Track nine, 'Reflect, Project' is a beautiful song that takes its time but is worth your patience. This song moves through ideas more slowly than other songs on this record but at this point in the album it's both refreshing and entertaining. A really enjoyable listen.
'Evergreen' is the next track and it brings us right back to that erratic style Among Them employ so well, gracefully floating through different musical ideas with little effort. The way they exit the last breakdown really blew my mind, going from something really dull and heavy into something so bright and delicate to close out the song. Not necessarily a banger but a really fun listen.
Final track 'The Others' closes this album off nicely. Whilst not being the most memorable song on the album, the atmosphere was really on point. There was a real sense of impending doom that gives "Coming and Going" a real "Going" vibe, giving that part of the title credence without a doubt.
Overall, the musicianship on this album was immense. The way that Among Them manipulated the atmosphere of the record made it extremely comprehensive as a back to front listen while still providing some real bangers for us all to add to our playlists. For this young band, the future is surely bright, and I can't wait to see them when they come down to Melbourne!
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Facebook - Bandcamp - Spotify
Would You Go And See Them (WYGAST) 5/5
Personal Enjoyment: 9/10