Okay then boys and girls, lets get the background info out the way first before we start reviewing, just so you know who Inner Blast is and what they’re about. Inner Blast are a Gothic Metal band originating from Portugal to where some members started playing in a group from 2006 and current members have been playing since 2010. Their strengths are said to be the in the sound of balanced instruments with overlapping melodic softness from the female vocals and keyboard (I couldn’t describe it better myself). Their mini album (Sleepless Monster) comprises of 5 tracks which include Better Days, Sleepless Monster, Tears, Fixation and Open Minds which was officially released in December 2011, but its not too late to discuss it now right?
Typically whenever listening to a new band, whereby the majority of you (including me), this may be the first time of hearing about Inner Blast/ potential first time listen, so our views are always impartial compared to friends recommending or hearing about them from various sources like you get for most bands. This review will try to be as impartial as possible to make you more inclined into making your own judgement as they are fairly original with their sound. So with this in mind, lets get this review underway starting with Better Days.
The first track of Sleepless Monster is Better Days. The ‘epic’ of the album. Opening with synth and a fairly steady beat, the vocals add a spine-tingleing uplift which to me, resembles a church choir by a single singing force. Already after the first minute of listening you understand their genre and their individual sound they create, of somewhat subtle vocals which blends more with the background and instruments than being the most distinguishable piece. By that I mean the singers style, compared to the bands overall style is much like that of Alice Glass of Crystal Castles. Whereby the only other ‘mainstream’ band you may be able to relate this band to is Evanesence, which I am a huge fan of. With this is mind, with most of my other reviews I also like to paint a picture of what film sound track it could relate to, just to give a better understanding of the genre and mood the band creates if you (the reader) may not be the biggest metal fan in the world. With closed eyes you could definitely imagine there being a montage of Kate Beckinsale films such as Underworld or Van Helsing, preferably her kickin’ some ass. If you get the chance to listen to this song you will definitely understand what I mean. For the people who thrive off the guitar solo’s – yes this song has a beast, which doesn’t go on too long or sound out of sync with the song which you often get. I’m on about you Trivium.
Moving onto Sleepless Monster, probably the best of the album, hence why it is the album name. Duh. Unlike the previous, the guitars and overall beat of the drums seem to be better put together, having more interesting guitar riffs, pauses to enhance the focus on the singer and generally heavier sound. In all honesty I would not class this band as Metal or Gothic Metal but more Alternative as they don’t possess the general raw power you get with bands such as Rammstein or lyrical anger of Slipknot. However not to say they are not enjoyable. Sleepless Monster seems to be the song so far with most distinguishable parts to make up the song such as chorus, pre chorus, verse etc, which I found it hard to recognise from the first song. As one that always like to sing along, I find it much easier to listen to songs with these distinguishable features.
Tears, as you could probably guess from the name is one for the less heavy fans. Mainly piano/keyboard infused, the vocals are soft and dream-like before the obvious metal guitar riffs come in, but only for brief periods of time. For a song which lasts 4:36 however, I am not the biggest fan of repetitiveness. Only until the last minute is where the piano riffs changes for the solo to come in (which is pretty good), and for the outro but apart from that the other sounds and vocals are quite similar throughout. Although the song appears good to begin with, the lack of variation is quite hard to handle. 21 guns by Green Day anyone? The feelings mutual from both those songs.
Like the previous Fixation is mostly based around the piano riff but added light phased guitar, with the typical metal riff of semi palm muted notes are played. The vocals are what really carries this song which is nice to hear, especially in the chorus, but during the verse it seems to the furthest thing away from metal which could be played, which is fairly strange to hear when the chorus is slightly at the opposite end of the metal scale if you will. Still a very interesting song, which makes a change to any stereotypical mainstream music you may or may not associate with this genre.
The final track on the album is quite similar again to the previous to in their introduction, however it seems to have the guitars to carry the song as they are played throughout, which is a nice change. Definitely another one of their better tracks as it has a lot of variation and powerful vocals in a rhythm which makes it catchy enough to keep you entertained throughout. A big recommendation to listen to this track, Open Minds and Sleepless Monsters before listening to the rest, however obviously that is from my own taste and opinion.
Overall Inner Blast are an interesting band to listen to. A deep, quirky and instrumentally talented band which hopefully will end up bringing more fans into the abyss which is the metal genre. However I would like to hear a much bigger variety in the guitar riffs during verses and choruses instead of having slight musical stings to breaks things up and also for the singer to try to be more distinguishable over every instrument, as at times I found it hard to identify the lyrics due to the somewhat muffled singing due to the individually recognised sound which is Inner Blast. None the less a good band to listen to if you’re up for something new and exciting.