Imagine, if you can, that legendary metal/hardcore band Botch were in fact a jigsaw. Now imagine that jigsaw tossed in the air by an Um Bongo-crazed toddler and smashed randomly back together. Now, if THAT jigsaw were a band, it would be Into The Storm.
‘Amidst A Sea Of Chaos’ is the first full-length recording from this Seattle-based quartet, and it manages to cover a fair amount of ground in a relatively short space of time. Opening with a minute of disconnected drums seemingly recorded in the bands rehearsal space, things get underway with a loping bassline somewhat reminiscent of Shellac before kicking in with a mathy-textured riff that manages to sound like both Botch and The National Acrobat at once to these ears. The vocals in particular have a sound and feel to them like Casper Adams, erstwhile vocalist for The National Acrobat, and there is more than a touch of Botch’s Dave Knudson to a lot of the guitar parts – without coming across as derivative, mind you. No mean feat. There are definitely flashes of hardcore bands such as Fall Silent and Pg.99 at times, and some of their wackier, longer, song-titles bring Curl Up and Die to mind – again, without too much derivation.
Into The Storm seem to be spilling over with ideas and riffs, but they don’t always seem to possess the technical ability to quite bring them to fruition. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad band – far from it – but it does lead to a few moments when ambition painfully outstrips execution- the syncopated riffage of ‘Gnaw Their Skulls’ springs to mind, as does the chaotic, overly complicated, guitar textures of ‘Sometimes, Maybe, I Like To Go To The Park And Look At Swaans’. The band are prone to getting into what sounds to be aimless chainsaw riffing and flailing drums, and its hard to tell if its the limitations of the band as musicians or the overly-organic production that takes impact away from the sound. There are some great uses of textured guitar sounds and some great vocal moments, most notably on the previously mentioned ‘Sometimes, Maybe….’, but at times it feels like there is too much air and space around the bands sound, a denser production would definitely work better for a band like this – something with a little more HEFT to it to help thicken up the single guitar at times would be a very good thing indeed.
Its been a while since I heard a hardcore-based band of this ilk, and its definitely something I enjoy, but the overstretching really does take the edge of a little, for me personally, but, taken as a whole, ‘Amidst A Sea Of Chaos’ shows us a band with a lot of promise – albeit one that maybe needs to work on their arrangements a little, and maybe reign in some of their expansive tendencies for a while – but DEFINITELY one to watch as they grow into their skills a little more. Give it a listen though – you can download it for free from the bands website – its CERTAINLY worth half an hour of your time.
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Paul Robertson