Release DetailsLABEL Seventh Rule Recordings
RELEASED ON 9/30/2008
posted on 10/2008 By:
Boy, am I glad that Invisible City came along when it did. It seems like every time I’m about ready to give up on the whole noisy, gnarly, knotty end of the metalcore world, some band comes along and revives my interest in the whole schtick. Impure Wilhelmina pulled it off in 2003 with I Can’t Believe I Was Born in July, and Beecher did the same with 2005’s This Elegy, His Autopsy. A few cynicism-breeding years down the line, Wetnurse appear ready to join the ranks of these awesome but tragically underrated bands. Like the aforementioned acts, Wetnurse play a generally noisy breed of something that could vaguely be called hardcore or metalcore, but are largely impossible to really pinpoint in terms of influences—no The Power and the Glory-style Converge clone, these guys. Invisible City focuses squarely on crafting memorable, coherent songs, and therein lies its success.
This kind of caustic metal/hardcore most often succeeds or fails on its ability to focus their songs. Most bands of the type—The Secret and Achilles come to mind—have all the technical prowess they need to pull off the style, but none of the control. That’s why the insane proliferation of tech-core groups that came out of the woodwork in the early 00s has diminished somewhat. When you’re slinging as many nutty riffs as these bands do, it’s pretty easy to just fly way the fuck off the handle and let memorability go sailing out the window.
These dudes have the musicianship alright, and more crucially, they’ve got the brains. Invisible City sees Wetnurse displaying a level of patience and attention to songcraft that I frankly haven’t seen since the demise of Botch. All eight of these tracks make excellent use of a crucial, underused tool—the hook. Now, before you throw your computer out the window in protest, be advised that I don’t mean hook in the annoying-string-melody-in-that-Britney-Spears-song sense so much as some feature for the listener to hold on to amidst the chaos. Opener “Conversations with the Moon” feigns a Western acoustic dirge before throttling the listener for three minutes and then opening up into an unexpected psychedelic jam, like Nachtmystium with a 90s noise crush—not exactly business as usual. “Slow Your Spell, Miss Hell” ends with a similar but extended guitar spacewalk that feeds into mournful acousticism, while “Missing Lion Returns” pairs disgruntled time signature strangulation with a downright anthemic clean vocal cadence provided by Ms. Stephanie Gravelle. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Invisible City is full of memorable but unforced left turns, and even amongst the vast proliferation of more conventional riffage there’s rarely a wasted moment. The only weaknesses are a decent-but-typical production and vocalist Gene Fowler. The former is mostly acceptable, but the latter can be actively annoying—he’s clearly going for a choked Jake Bannon-ish scream, but can’t quite hack it and ends up way too deep in yelping, tattooed-chihuahua territory to be of much use to the songs.
I won’t go so far as to say that Invisible City is going to revitalize this increasingly tired brand of noise-spazz-whatevercore, but this is sure as shit the right way to play it. If you’ve ever listened to Into the Moat and wondered how the fuck this style got so big, you owe it to yourself to check out Wetnurse. Moreover, anybody who digs on Beecher, Converge, Impure Wilhelmina, Circle Takes the Square, and etc. needs to get on this pronto.
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