Feb 12, 2012

Among Thieves "Immortalized" Review

Genre: Metalcore
Location: Spokane, WA
Label: Unsigned

Abraham Lincoln said "whatever you are, be a good one". Certainly he couldn't have dreamed that would apply to musicians in this day and age let alone music that is this aggressive. Among Thieves with their debut E.P. "Immortalized" have most assuredly declared themselves as quite a good metalcore band. They've also displayed the fact that they are well aware of their talents which on this E.P. which proves to be both their greatest strength and weakness. While there is nothing at all that is bad on "Immortalized", the recording feels a little busy, the bells and whistles are not applied haphazardly, however it does feel like some of the bells were put on top of some of the whistles, resulting in some areas of the collection of songs that can feel a bit disconcerting or distracting.

Stankface-You do have to love the fact that Among Thieves can grab ones attention so quickly. This is one of the better first songs I've heard in a while. The instrumentation is spot on and the vocals are rattling and immensely adept, made even more impressive by the fact that the vocals on the album are the first time out for this vocalist. It's a solid start to "Immortalized" and definitely a cornerstone of Among Thieves sound. What's really superb is that the songs have a signature that makes Among Thieves discernible from similar bands.

Outlawed-The introduction of this song is the stuff of wonder. The sound on the entire recording is immensely clear and it makes for a very enjoyable listen everywhere but this song is especially delightful for it. There are some clean and gang vocals on this song that show Among Thieves is more than just a band that's good at rumbling along in heaviness. The clean vocals are not that sort of generic clean vocal that can emerge when a band dares to let loose those talents. The gang vocals are also a nice way to keep things interesting and very well harmonized. Herein however is one of the weaknesses of the recording, while the clean and gang vocals are all wonderful and things for a band that can do them as well as Among Thieves do. But it sounds almost like the band discovered just how well they could do these things. There are moments where clean vocals quickly become gang vocals and gang vocals are layered under the more abrasive, crumbling lows. While it does not sound bad when this happens, it becomes something like eating chocolate cake and apple pie at the same time. A delicious but somewhat distracting experience. All in all Outlawed is a track that thoroughly showcases Among Thieves' talents musically even if at times it is a song that tries to do too much at once.

Beam Me Up Scotty- This song has Among Thieves showing off a more streamlined side of their sound. Not to say that the rest of the material on "Immortalized" is anything but skillfully executed, but this song has what feels like fewer breakdowns and even those feel somewhat speedier than the other songs. This track is much more at home with galloping speed and thundering instrumentals. It makes for a nice change of pace for the band that keeps their sound but has them stepping  out of their comfort zone momentarily with stunning results.

Immortalized-The title track of this E.P. is a passionate piece of music that makes use of an inspiring chorus that addresses the issues with clean and gang vocals that are present on other songs. It's certainly fitting that this is the title track as it is the fullest, most energetic expression of Among Thieves' music.

My Remission-Wrapping up "Immortalized", this song is something of a return to form. A nice sort of bookend if you will, while between the first and last track there was variety and experimentation, this song is back to the basics for Among Thieves, not by any means a bad thing. One thing the track adds on to the already amazing music is a greater use of clean singing, which becomes hauntingly serene as the recording closes out.

Among Thieves keep it simple for the most part. The parts of the music where they experiment and step out of their comfort zone the results are almost always are rewarding for both the band and the listeners. The music at times feels a bit overextended, like the band wants to try everything they can on their first time out. And that's to be commended, experimentation is always a good thing for a band to try. "Immortalized" has enough experimentation to set itself apart from some generic metal recording, and at times a bit too much. That being said "Immortalized" is an effort that is definitely worth a listen and Among Thieves a band that is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Rating: 4/5