Album Review: This Be the Verse – This Be the Verse

“My music, I hope, takes 100% of your concentration. I know how to do that,” an ambitious Trent Reznor once stated, referring to his delicately-crafted and multi-layered soundscaping captured on Nine Inch Nails’ 1994 triumph ‘The Downward Spiral’. It’s a mindset that has been recognised by a lot of more progressively minded artists of late, and is reflected upon listening to This Be the Verse’s self-titled debut.

Fronted by vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Cyrus King, the album takes it’s cues from his industrial production work and aggression picked up from a love of hardcore bands. Taking the best elements from these worlds has ensured King has summoned up a schizophrenic record packed with drastic changes of pace and ambience.

But, for all its variation, the album is tied together by this constant strain of tension that bursts straight out the speakers from the angular-riff battering of opener ‘Stubborn Youth’ to the claustrophobic ‘Alone’ which revolves around a slow electronic bassline which slowly pulses like a failing heart.

Yet the real skill here is found in the way TBTV surprise listeners with the placement of certain riffs and melodies. ‘Adieu’ springs to life when its gorgeous chorus splashes out of the speakers, filling the song like a flood. And it’s hard to not take awe in the album’s closing riff on ‘I Am Charlie’, where King’s acoustic lament transforms into a groovy rhythm that’s impossible to resist.

It’s moments like this that makes This Be the Verse such a rewarding band to indulge in. There’s a cinematic flare of drama on this album that isn’t present in a lot of hardcore records and an aggression that isn’t present in a lot of alt-rock records. And, with this level of scope across the album, you’ll want to give 100% of your concentration to it.

4/5

’This Be the Verse’ by This Be the Verse is released on October 21st.

This Be the Verse links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)

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