This is the release I have been waiting for. NODES OF RANVIER have shown that they can play Metalcore. They have done it with three prior albums. Now it was time for them to break their own cycle and strike their own trail. Thusly, “Defined By Struggle” does just that. For the first time in their career, NODES OF RANVIER are hitting new ground and with it, they seem to have struck gold.
“Defined By Struggle” may not sound all that different on initial spins of the album. Yes, it is Metalcore but, this time they are definitely more Metal than core. The music has increased in complexity and along with their new singer the band now feels stronger (and more ferocious) than ever.
I will not lie, but I have never been that big of a fan of NODES OF RANVIER. Despite being the hometown heroes (they hail from Sioux Falls, South Dakota where I currently reside) I found their music to be good but nothing special. “Defined By Struggle” really caught my attention though. I found the guitars to be compelling with a more defined complexity to the riffs along with stronger leads. Adding more leads and the occasionally solo to the mix has done a lot to bring a greater variety to the mix. The breakdowns are still there but this time they feel a little more like heavy riffs rather than extensive breakdowns.
The new singer is a well-needed force for the band. His energy and dynamics have helped out the music well. He brings in a new layer to the music that the band had been striving for with the last few releases. He brings a raw emotional energy to the album without the help of production values.
The production of this album is also top notch. The production for NODES OF RANVIER has always been great but I think with the added kick that the band has put in it really let the production fly. It’s clean and heavy with all of the instruments at just the right levels and it gives this cake the icing that it needed.
This is NODES OF RANVIER’s best album to date. They finally have hit full stride with “Defined By Struggle” and this band is one to watch. With renewed vigor, it seems as though this Midwest miracle might find their way to the big spotlight.
Songs to check out: “Purpose in Pain”, “Infidelity”, “Archegos”.
(Online October 10, 2007)