applause of a distant crowd

Taking a deeper look into metal music in a pop-driven world

Oct 31 • Arts & Leisure, Top Stories • 370

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This week I still have a review, but it is a detailed look at the metal genre and how recent bands have been trying to keep it relevant in a hip-hop and rap driven world.
I will review VOLA’s new record “Applause of a Distant Crowd” and Polyphia’s new record “New Levels New Devils,” while also exploring VOLA’s 2016 release “Inmazes,” DisperE’s 2017 release “Forward,” Chon’s records: “Honey,” “Grow,” and “Newborn Sun,” and Periphery’s records: “Periphery ‘III’, ‘II’ and ‘I’,” and “Juggernaut: Alpha and Omega.”
Let’s start with Periphery since they, in some ways, are the start of this whole movement.
The movement I will be calling “p-metal,” which is short for pop-metal, is a push to create a new flow and feel to the heavy genre of metal.
Since their inception in 2010 they have greeted listeners with a heavy, yet intrepidly melodic and soothing form of progressive metal and djent.
Periphery as a whole, at least to me, does not produce p-metal.
They still produce a relatively heavy form of progressive metal.
With that said, however, they have incorporated a more melodic and lighter sound to their tracks which seem to stick in the minds of listeners around the world; which in turn influence up and coming bands.
For example, DisperE is the best example of a metal band putting pop harmonies and melodies in the foreground of their soundscapes, creating soothing and intricate riffs with airy and free sounding choruses.
Periphery, DisperE and VOLA all use synths and electronic drums to incorporate these lush soundscapes that weave through the track, mimicking the feel and flow of modern pop music.
Then comes Chon’s records and Polyphia’s most recent record, which push the boundary even further.
Both groups use a different form of metal or math rock to produce a more free and fluffy sound.
Math rock comes from the indie and punk scenes of the 1980s by taking influence from odd time signatures of free-form jazz and post-rock.
So, math rock has a lot of territory to be explored for bands that choose to use it.
These two bands use it to make each track feel fluffy, fresh, airy, free and light.
The fluttering guitars wash up against your ear and produce an intricate yet mellow sound that again mimics the feel of pop music.
So, we now are present with “Applause of a Distant Crowed” and “New Levels New Devils,” both incorporating a form of p-metal in two different ways.
Both are extremely well-executed and sound flawless from track to track, with VOLA producing a slightly better and more cohesive record than Polyphia.
So, I give VOLA a 4.9/5 while Polyphia receives a 4.5/5.
Happy thinking and listening, Gannon University!

 

ALAN COLLINS
collins049@knights.gannon.edu

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