Issues - Black Diamonds E.P

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Issues are the latest name to be pinged around the metal world. Seen by some as little more than a buzz-band, but also viewed as a cutting edge collective who are trying something fresh and new. It’s too early to say for sure how this band’s career trajectory will look but it’s safe to say that this is a rather original concept. I like to think of myself as rather open-minded with music, so I shall try to be fair and not write off Issues like most die-hards might.

After seeing the recent collision of technical metal and grime vocals with Hacktivist, it is time for another demonstration on how to merge opposing genres. Issues have thrown together djenty riffing, huge RnB vocal hooks and waves of party-starting bounce that isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste. It’s already obvious that this band will get a shitstorm of hate from the unforgiving communities of the interweb.

Carrying on regardless, the L.A based bunch kick off their 6-track EP with the title track – a two minute blast of dubstep wob and electronic synths. It’s already trying to appeal to a new generation of heavy music fans in its approach. When ‘King of Amarillo’ drops, it drops perfectly with screamed vocals and a stomping beatdown to show that the album has some balls. The clean vocals sound a bit weak and lack the same impact as the snarling screams. The hooks, however, do their job perfectly and draw you into the sing-along moments. The track tempo and switching between styles is executed well; it keeps you guessing and is surprisingly cohesive.

If the radio-friendly tune, ‘The Worst of Them’ was a tad slower and lost the screams, I feel you could see it creeping up the charts. Delivering the sickly sweet melodies and disappearing within three and a half minutes, this will go off in a live environment and get everybody dancing. A short piano interlude à la While She Sleeps begins ‘Princeton Ave’ before the nu-metal bounce floods in and hits you with another catchy, if not slightly cringe-worthy, chorus that would be at home in any RnB track. The overall structure saves this song despite the wafer thin vocals.

The Limp Bizkit challenging ‘Love Sex Riot’ packs a wallop, if you can listen to this and stay motionless, then you may have a humour deficiency. Some ridiculously auto-tuned chorus’ aside, this is one of the finest nu-metal anthems never written. The ever present rumble of the bass and drums combined with some seriously bouncy riffs and dirty beatdowns make this rather memorable. Oh yeah, and there is a DJ scratching over it, which is proper early noughties.

I have both criticism and praise for this album – but it was always going to split opinion. It leaves me in a rather unique situation, because despite not being a huge fan, I want to implore you to give it a listen. It will either click with you or it won’t. This will likely be the start of a wave of copy-cats, but remember where you heard it first.

Scribbled by:

Metalhead, Wannabe Music Journo, Long-Haired Fool, Thrash Enthusiast

Can also be found at his kick ass blog