Artist: The Kindred
Album: Life in Lucidity
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Sumerian Records
I had the distinct pleasure of seeing The Kindred open up for Intronaut, Deafheaven, and Between the Buried and Me a little over a week ago at Empire in Springfield, Virginia. I’ve never seen a club that small so packed. It wasn’t just a show, shows end up being a simple statement summed up in just one word: “good”. No, no, this was an experience brimming with energy and passion that is rarely seen at metal shows these days. I had never heard of The Kindred up until that moment and after seeing their live performance their latest album, Life in Lucidity, immediately rocketed to the top of my most anticipated records of the year.
So, with a bit of disappointment, I must say that while Life in Lucidity deserves to be commended for its effort, it doesn’t come close to capturing the heart or energy that their live performance commanded that evening. That’s not to say the album isn’t primed with a few amazing entries, but most of them are anthemic pieces that, while catchy, won’t have much lasting appeal outside of the immediate future. The album features explosions of vibrant shining genius littered across a field of barren mediocrity. Long story short: Life in Lucidity is an interesting album that will turn some heads until the shine wears off.
Life in Lucidity begins with “Wolvish”, which, if nothing else, is a well-written glimpse at what’s to come, but when paired with vocalist Dave Journeaux’s bizarre lyrical structure its overall package is a tad too convoluted for its own good. The following track, “Heritage”, is an interesting one. It’s probably one of my favorites off the album, and it features anthemic tribal chanting throughout the song’s five minute duration. It’s unique, and the lyrics and vocal structures flow well with the instrumental progression. What makes the song stand tall amongst the rest of the album’s offerings is it’s unbelievable build up that makes the song feel as “statuesque” as the lyrics would imply. “An Evolution of Thought” is another fine contribution to the album’s tracklist that features a djent-like bite that offers a crisp attack to the guitar’s blistering riffage. It’s well written, and once again features an ending buildup that leads to an atmospheric chanting chorus that will, without a doubt, remain with its listeners as a flavor of the week.
The one striking point about The Kindred’s approach is their sound. It’s unique and palatable, even to people who may not normally be akin to metal. It’s got bite, but it seems to be the next logical evolution to what bands like Deafheaven have pioneered: a sound that remains bright, crisp, and full of color, even as it descends into chaos. They aren’t using Ibanez, or EMG’s, they’re using Fender Strats and Telecasters that bellow a warmth of tone that most modern metal is lacking. Their deep fuzz born sound coupled with outstanding drumming and strained, but still melodic, vocals, cater towards the creation of a new kind of metal that is drenched in hipsters, but deserving of its place.
So, if those songs listed above are the album’s highlights, then what’s left? Seven tracks of mediocrity. As I’ve already stated, there are glimpses of greatness in some of the other songs, but for the most part none of it is that memorable. The album simply begins to collapse on itself in a studio setting, especially after the fifth track. In the end Life in Lucidity just isn’t capable of capturing the intensity or energy that The Kindred’s live performance conducted, which is a disappointment because albums are usually fuel for developing a fan base and I doubt this release will help contribute to that fire. See this band live, in that setting they deserve your attention. It’s the way their music should be enjoyed.
Best Tracks: “Heritage”, “An Evolution of Thought”, “Wolvish”