Reviewed By Andrew McKaysmith
Since the turn of the century, it has been impossible to avoid or ignore contemporary urban music. It's everywhere. In public spaces such as shopping centres, fast food chains, petrol stations and even at the dentist. Is urban music so prevalent that it was inevitable it would influence metalcore? Different Animals certainly sounds as if it could be broken down and reassembled as an urban release.
There are a plethora of metal and rock bands combining disparate musical elements. Since Faith No More issued their ground-breaking and overlooked masterpiece, Introduce Yourself, way back in 1987, its hardly a new or surprising concept for bands to blend elements of hip hop and rap with speed and thrash metal guitar playing.
Where Different Animals is unique is that the album's architects have introduced a lyrical flow and vocal cadence to metalcore that reminds me of the music produced by Tyler, the Creator and Kendrick Lamar. Of course there is a lot of detail that a more diligent fan of contemporary urban music may use to either support or refute my opinion. To the casual observer whose typical choice is metal and rock, I am sure the reference will ring true.
There are more obvious influences from rock and metal. “Waves Control” has a slight Deftones vibe and It wouldn’t be a modern-day metalcore album without overt djent-isms. To that point, Fredrik Thordendal could almost be considered the founding father of so much heavy music post 2009 in much the same way Messer’s Patton and Gould from Faith No More, and the supremely underrated Trey Spruance from Mr. Bungle (allegedly) inspired nu-metal and mainstream heavy rock post 1999.
The musician’s contribution on Different Animals is tremendous.
With an album that focuses so heavily on rhythm, the casual observer can almost be forgiven for thinking that the rapid beats married to djent guitar and tumbling bass might be an easy accomplishment. Trey Azagthoth once rambled that Morbid Angel’s death metal Van Halen-ism’s were the result of appreciating “…the silent spaces between the thoughts”. In a way, I understand what Azagthoth was saying. On Different Animals there is plenty to suggest the musicians were plugged into a similar source energy as Azagthoth. Morbid Angel’s riffs are meaningful and tsunamic, they carry a potent energy. As do the riffs on Different Animals.
Highlights? “Finite”, “Feels Good”, “On her Mind” and “Left for Dead”, which is a seriously worthy album closer.
A great release from a band that I’d barely heard of prior to the release of Different Animals.