- Band / Artist Elitist
- Genre Metal/Progressive
- Label Independent
- Year 2012
- Format Album
After two EP’s, and much deserving hype later, Los Angeles crew Elitist are out with their debut full-length record “Reshape | Reason”. Elitist features Julian Rodriguez, Mike Danese, Chris Balay and Ben Kazenoff.
“Reshape | Reason” retains most of the Elitist-goodness from the days of Caves EP, and ditches some of the glaring nuances (and coming up with some new ones); there seems to be a hint of Misery Signals thrown into the mix along with the good old melodic guitar leads.
The band has not really refined the style of music they compose; all the same, the four-piece seems to have done much research on their musicianship and the end-product they put out there. The vocals require less getting used to, given Chris Balay’s vocal range which is much more intelligible to the listener than the vocals on the Earth EP. The band has also eschewed the use of programmed drums and brought on board Ben Kazenoff. Production duties have been handled by Dan Braunstein (Volumes, Bermuda). “Reshape | Reason” is more about slow measured delivery of intricate song structures. The band has pulled out all the stops that plagues the Earth EP and stepped out of the default Elitist song-template and gone much ahead cashing in on the absence of restraints of a record label- Introducing a modest length instrumental track would be one of them. Thankfully, the melodic creativity that saved the “Earth EP” and made “Caves EP” usher a surge of enthusiasm, is still intact. It appears that this quartet takes the clean vocals thingie quite seriously, having featured it in some of the tracks and going to the extent of getting Garrisson Lee from fellow Metalcore outfit ERRA to do a guest vocal stint on the track “Sacred Geometry”, but what they love more than anything else is their own guitar parts, because those have drowned vocalist Balay’s efforts more often than not. It seems the band had sworn to come up with something mediocre for every good moment on the album.
Much generic feel had crept into the Progressive Hardcore scene after Deathcore bands with keyboard fills and Metalcore bands with oddest of time signatures and clean guitar layers had been crawling out of the woodwork, left, right and centre. For once, thankfully, we had a band that did not overdo any of its key elements, and still managed to stick to its roots and produce quality music for a while, and best of all- Did not sound like every other band out there that’s trying to put up a unique “Progressive Metalcore” sound. Unfortunately, “Reshape | Reason” will not be the end-all be-all for all things Technical Metalcore, henceforth; while “Reshape | Reason” sounds fresh, it is not a milestone for the genre, or the band for that matter. Despite trying to eliminate any traces of monotony or mediocrity the band hogtied most of the playlist in its own lack of foresight such that it eventually fell flat as a merely passable record, probably to be treasured by avid fans only. Had I not known better, I’d say “Reshape | Reason” was a veteran band trying to salvage a bunch of B-Sides.
Nevertheless, the rhythmic complexities, the haunting lead-work, curb the imperfections and sums it up as a record worth more than a few spins. Stand-out tracks include “Square and Compass”, “Equinox”, “Life Lost”- which is signature Elitist plus some clean vocals, and a beautifully composed instrumental, titled “Transmutations”. There are hints of Electronic (read: glitch effects) to round off the wall of Progressive seriousness. With their
A-game captured within 10 almost-amazing tracks that reshape reason, something tells me the band is going to unleash some masterpieces by the time they reach their prime, but “Reshape | Reason” just won’t cut it.
Pros: Clean Vocals, memorable melodic leads, introducing an instrumental track.
Cons: Generic in parts.
A marginally disappointing effort given the bar they set for themselves with the “Caves (E.P)” but still worth a check to see what went wrong.
Arkadeep Deb, as of now is a 20 year old engineering student from Kolkata. When he’s not harmlessly trolling around or watching Two and a Half Men re-runs, he dabbles in all-things-Metal, Photography, Songwriting, Reviews, you name it. While building up his chops in guitar/ vocals as we speak, he’s doing his utmost to represent the genre he loves, protesting social-stereotyping and pigeon-holing of its followers and lending a patient ear to the beloved underground. His first tryst with Metal was 5 years ago, when one fateful day he popped a bootleg SLIPKNOT: SUBLIMINAL VERSES and LAMB OF GOD: ASHES OF THE WAKE split-record in the cd-tray. There has been no looking back ever-since.
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