Maturity comes in a lot of forms. Sometimes it’s a band completely changing their sound to an entirely new genre, other times it’s refraining from catty and shallow digs at others in the industry. With ISSUES’ new album Beautiful Oblivion (out now, Rise Records), I think we’re seeing something else here. More of a refinement of an already insanely talented machine, in lieu of a surface deep change up.
I loved the older releases that heavily featured electronic elements, but there’s something special about how it’s all implemented on this go around. They took already great parts/songs and gave them that extra 10-15% wow factor by utilizing the electronic asset they’ve always had. Essentially, it’s far less like a band with a great electronics producer, and more like everyone working hand in hand to deliver the most impact. It’s super easy to go overboard and pack on the layers, so restraint is not only a respectable choice, but a difficult one from the writing aspect.
While on the subject of restraint, the metal influence on this album runs surprisingly deep, without being the most up front thing. There is an utterly massive palette of riffs through the entire record, and a few breakdown moments that aren’t your typical metalcore open string chugga chugga china cymbal breaks. It’s always the easy default option to write a breakdown, but to include them tastefully is a whole other thing entirely, so kudos to the entire team in that aspect.
We all know from previous releases that Tyler is an insane vocalist but the band doesn’t wholeheartedly rely on it. They’re not pimping out huge vocal riffs and crazy high notes just for the sake of doing it. As previously stated, they’re just writing damn good songs. In my opinion, that’s so much more effective than having those one or two singles that have the really good choruses and leaving the rest of the album to just get “finished.”
You’ll notice I haven’t pointed out any specific songs from the record. That’s because you need to hear them all. It’s a pretty goddamn wild ride from start to finish, with some heartfelt, catchy, and punishing moments along the way, and a few surprises sprinkled in. What more can you ask for?
STANDOUT TRACKS: EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM