Black Diamonds review: Issues uncovers Diamonds

On November 27, 2012

Artist: Issues

EP: Black Diamonds

Release Date: Nov. 13

Label: Rise Records

Grade: A-

Rivalries in musical genres are fairly common, especially if past members join a new band and decide to sign to the same record label.

After leaving metalcore band Woe, Is Me, vocalist Tyler Carter of Buffalo pursued a solo career. However, when Woe, Is Me also let go of unclean vocalist Michael Bohn, Carter knew what should be done.

Issues was born last summer and was slated to release their six-song EP Black Diamonds to their loyal fans on the same record label as Woe, Is Me.

The EP begins with an electronic track titled "Black Diamonds." The keyboards and intergalactic sounds work with Bohn's stuttering screams providing an intro the hardcore scene rarely finds.

"Black Diamonds" seamlessly continues into "King Of Amarillo," the heaviest song on the EP. Bohn's unclean vocals have an air of rap music allowing for Carter's passion for both R&B and hardcore music to shine and make the album strangely cohesive.

"King Of Amarillo" was intended to antagonize Woe, Is Me and increased the tension even more by mentioning their past band's new record.

"Got the swag of a coward and the heart of a nemesis/If you don't like these lyrics then go listen to Genesi[s]," Bohn screams.

"The Worst Of Them" and "Princeton Ave" both showcase Issues' ability to write heartfelt lyrics while harnessing their signature sound. In "The Worst Of Them," Carter dominates the song while crooning about a lover who walked away and will not have a second chance.

"Princeton Ave," a track about men who abuse their children or significant others, is heavier but transitions into a R&B bridge. Although the technique does not work as well on this track, the lyrics are still powerful and relatable to people from broken homes.

"Love. Sex. Riot.," featuring a verse from Attila's Chris Fronzak, continues the trend of gritty guitar chords with electronic and R&B influences. Fronzak's trademark screaming with a touch of Busta Rhymes' cadences complements Bohn's and makes the track one of the catchier of the EP.

Carter's vocal range meshes well and his stuttering in the bridge makes "Love. Sex. Riot." infectious.

The EP's final track, "Her Monologue," wraps up the EP perfectly. Both Bohn and Carter hold strong among the metal instrumentals. The album is repetitious, but that's the point. By doing so, Issues establish their name in the music scene and will keep fans interested for a full-length album.

Black Diamonds is currently two spots ahead of Woe, Is Me's Genesi[s] on the iTunes rock charts and will guarantee animosity.



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