[ALBUM REVIEW] SL∆VES ‘Beautiful Death

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ARTIST: SL∆VES
ALBUM NAME: ‘Beautiful Death’
RELEASE DATE: February 2018
COUNTRY: United States
CITY: Sacramento
GENRE:  Post-hardcore

 

American post-hardcore outfit, Slaves (not to be confused with the UK Rock duo) have unleashed the beast that is ‘Beautiful Death’. Despite line-up changes, jumping between labels and release date push backs, the much anticipated third full-length effort from the Sacramento three-piece is here!

‘Beautiful Death’ is a step up from the bands previous two releases. Although ‘Through Art We Are Equals’ had some commercial success, the compositional structure was a bit too complex for the average listener. By this I mean that the vocal melodies, although amazing, tended to be a bit wild. ‘Beautiful Death’ however, absolutely encompasses easy listening though it’s common verse-chorus-bridge like structure, but maintains enough complexity in the production to keep it interesting.

Compositionally this album is by far the most commercially appealing. Boasting a wide range of musical influences such as R&B and Hip-Hop with Pop sing-a-long choruses while maintaining the odd heavy breakdown and signature Slaves sound. This is reflective of Jonny Craig’s solo projects, and the wide range of genre influences. Songs such as ‘True Colors’ and ‘Petty Trappin’ could easily find their way onto mainstream radio.

Of course with every heavy band that heads towards the commercial side of things, fans of the heavier material may fall by the wayside. However ‘Beautiful Death’ opens the door for a much larger, more versatile group of fans. Those who are fans of Jonny Craig’s voice will be happy to hear one of his most impressive vocal performances to date, with the most honest delivery. “With this album, I feel like I have the chance to be the person I was supposed to be the entire time” adds Jonny Craig himself.

Producer Erik Ron has done an incredible job with this work. The minimalistic instrumentation with layers upon layers of delicately tweaked sounds create the perfect atmospheric accompaniment to Jonny Craig’s power vocals.  The clarity of the vocal melodies and runs are literally goose bump material.

Lyrically, there is a hint of the same melancholy we know from Slaves and Jonny Craig, however the tone takes a more hopeful and honest turn than previous releases. Songs like ‘I’d Rather See Your Star Explode’ , ‘True Colors’ , ‘Let This Haunt You’ and ‘Deadly Conversations’ carry the same relatable theme of relationship struggles and trust issues. Although these lyrics probably come from a very personal place, they are well written enough to be interpreted in a way that is applicable to the listener.

With regards to songs such as ‘Patience Is A Virtue’ , ‘I Know A Lot Of Artists’ , ‘Back To The Roots’ and ‘The Pact’, the lyrics follow the struggles both Slaves and Jonny Craig have faced in the music industry and emphasise that persistence and perseverance will overcome it all. The fact that this album is finally out and is as great as it is, is testament to this.

Those who have followed Jonny Craig on his journey through the industry should feel quite emotional when listening to the final track ‘The Pact’. This particular song can be interpreted as a song from Jonny to his fans that highlights his appreciation to those who have stuck by him despite his short comings over the years. The song encourages fans to keep believing in him, and in return he will strive to be better so that together, through music, they can get through the “tougher days”.

Overall ‘Beautiful Death’ feels like the most cohesive release that Slaves has had to date. I have personally had the album on repeat for the last couple of days, and although some tracks lack a bit of punch (‘Petty Trappin’ and Deadly Conversations’) the album for the most part is brilliant and grows on the listener with every play. The tracks I would recommend (apart from the already well received ‘I’d Rather See Your Star Explode’ and ‘True Colors’) would be ‘Let This Haunt You’ for the amazing runs, phrasing and use of dynamics to portray a very emotive sound. As well as ‘Warning From My Demons’ for its beautiful guitar and unique instrumentation.

The album is available for download and stream on all major retailers.

iTunes: http://smarturl.it/5uxaey

Merch Bundles: http://smarturl.it/53euc8

 

Rating: 8/10

 

8

Reviewed by: Sammy SF Slabbert

Photos supplied by: SL∆VES

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