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In Loving Memory Introspective Album Review

In Loving Memory

Introspective Album Review

By: Gabe Straight, Music Journalist for Boston Rock Radio

 

 

 

Pull out your Silly Bandz, everyone! Reactivate your Myspace account, bring your Motorola Flip phone back from the dead, and put your Blood on the Dance Floor posters back up on your wall. I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but judging by the release of In Loving Memory’s Introspective, we’re skipping 2018 and going straight back to 2009.

 

In Loving Memory is the latest band in the list of trends of musical projects trying to combine metal and electronic elements into the same song, just like every metalcore band from 2009 until about 2011 when all those middle schoolers who thought listening to Dance Gavin Dance made them edgy started high school and left metalcore behind. Thanks to In Loving Memory, we get another chance to experience the synth pad/breakdown melting pot of late 2000s metalcore.

 

I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t think metal and pop ever go together. When I hear metal music, I think complex and elaborate. Pop, on the other hand, is quick and simple. It’s like putting spicy wings in your smoothie. They’re polar opposite genres in terms of purpose and structure and every band I’ve heard trying to combine them left me pressing pause and finding another band. There are a lot of things I liked off of this EP, ILM displayed a great amount of potential. As much as In Loving Memory has going for it on their latest release, I can’t help but feel there is more they could’ve done on Introspective.

 

Keep in mind, I like to go into bands without any expectations, so I didn’t know what the band sounded like until going into it. From the intro of the first song “Forthright”, I was intrigued: the synth lead repetitions, the broad harmonies, the vocalist’s soaring pipes, I was full-on ready for a synth-pop album. When the rest of “Forthright” came on, I said to myself “Oh, they’re that kind of band”.

 

There are things about this EP I like, believe it or not. For one, the vocals. Naveed Stone has some serious pipes on him, and he’s very modest about it. Nothing bothers me more about a vocalist than one who feels they have to constantly remind you how good they are. Stone is always in complete control of his voice, never faltering or hitting a bad note. He’s one of the saving graces on this EP. The other is the electronic production. The synths and pads used throughout the EP sound great, each synth sounds different from the last, and you can tell they’re putting effort into each one rather than finding the first synth tone on Logic they like and slapping it in the song. My favorite moment of the EP, and the rare occasion where the synth and metal elements went well together, was the breakdown towards the end of “Nomad.”  I loved the buildup heading into it, and the payoff left me very satisfied.

 

Notice how I specifically mentioned the production on the synths, because that’s the only production I actually liked. The drum mix is so heavily compressed, not matter how much I turned up my volume the drums always sounded too quiet; combining that with  Thomas Diognari’s drumming lacking any sort of pizazz or personality, I was surprised to learn ILM had a human drummer and not a MIDI plug-in. The lyrics on Introspective are another part of the EP that feels inhuman. They’re vague enough to apply to anyone’s struggles with themselves, but so vague they almost have no real meaning. Lines like “I try to wipe your taste out my mouth, I can't get it out / With soulless lips I don't care about” and “I been on the honor roll since first grade / so you know I'm good with tests / But this urban dreamer will confess” are way too sappy and campy to take anything Stone is saying seriously. And just in case I didn’t say it clearly enough before, metal and pop do not go together. Every song on Introspective sounds like two bands in the same studio competing with each other for sonic supremacy. I constantly had to check Spotify to make sure I was listening to the same song.

 

This band has a lot of potential. The synth parts, combined with Stone’s vocal range, could make for some seriously intuitive pop music. That’s why I’m being as hard on ILM as I am, because they can be so much better, and have the ability to get better. I hope going forward, ILM cuts out the breakdowns, refines and polishes their sound, and we might be a year away from the next big thing. For now, I hope we don’t have to stay in 2009 long, because my Silly Bandz are cutting off circulation in my body, and I ran out of tape for my Blood on the Dance Floor poster.

 

6/10

 

https://www.facebook.com/InLovingMemoryNY/

 

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