Note to bands:
There is more to writing songs than just taking a collection of riffs, grouping them in a certain order and then labelling said grouping of riffs as a song. See, there are pesky little things like “cohesion” and “dynamics” and “transitions” that matter. It’s not “progressive” go through 14 different genres in the span of a song if it sounds like it was done by a bunch of musicians with ADD and everything sounds like it was stitched together by a drunk surgeon with Parkinson’s.
So after that little rant, you can tell what genre KAREN PAGE is in. It’s that annoying Progressive-Core nonsense that tries to do too much in a short span of time with nary a logically structured song in sight. Riffs come and go with no rhyme or reason, the guitars throw in sweeps and taps for no reason other than to say “Look ma! I can sweep and tap on the guitar!!”, and the changes and transitions (what transitions?) between the sections are pretty much non-existent. Sometimes the songs go in a Deathcore/Metalcore direction, sometimes Hardcore, sometimes angsty Pop-Punk, but everything just sounds so...forced. The whole thing sounds like they wanted to appeal to everyone out there, so they added the fast chaotic stuff for the fans of heavy music, the angsty Pop-Punk stuff for the kids to sing along to, and the quiet interludes for the Avant-Garde crowd (okay, “Interloper” is actually good), so they tried to include each and every single idea they’ve ever had into this instead looking to see how to make it cohesive.
What bothers me about this is that there were some riffs and parts peppered throughout the album which have a good element of groove to them, and there is the occasional great riff that is present throughout the album (the first 40 seconds of “All Sixes”, for example). The problem is that the sections of a song don’t exist in a vacuum and if good bits of the album are surrounded with messy, disjointed riffs and the transitions from one to the other is as smooth as gravel, the enjoyable parts suffer for existing in the mess, and the band will be known for being that one who “has a bunch of cool parts surrounded by a mess of shit”.
I don’t mind bands that try to incorporate new elements to or try to break free from the confines of their genre, but throwing in every single idea you’ve ever had into the span of 4 minutes and labelling that dreck a song and giving that dreck a title doesn’t constitute as songwriting.
Back to the drawing board with you.
(Online June 26, 2010)