Constance was formed in 2015, bringing a much needed progressive metal punch to the Central Wisconsin music scene, releasing their first EP, ‘Revive’. The band is made up of a great collection of young artists, notably their talented guitarist Tyler Kramer and Eric Stephens on bass. In addition, Zion Grassl offers excellent screams as well as clean vocals, and Gordo Gehrman staffs the bongos. Absolutely no expectations going into this one as I’ve never heard them live, but they have been mentioned in the same ilk as bands like Invent Animate and have shared likeness of noteworthy bands like Persefone. Constance is promoted as progressive metal or metalcore. Enough with introductions, let us jump into this album!
‘Hope(Less)’ opens with a terrific blend of strong intro riffs and stifling clean vocals, harmonizing well while progressing into the speedier meat of the song. Screaming vocals jump in and it climaxes with a chorus that speaks of both hope and hopelessness. Excellent way to start an album! ‘Blackwell’ comes across with a certain beat of edginess that is quite a contrast to the first track. Well-paced and has a great transition into the clean vocals that build into the chorus. Is this what to expect from a metalcore release like this?
Metalcore is a term that gets tossed around often in regards to a style that combines elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk, while those elements are littered with positives and negatives, and it becomes a difficult label to categorize as there are acts performing at various levels of excellent to horrid. After the first few listens, I am struggling to find a specific genre to give Constance, honestly, as they have enough range in style that they could just wave the melodic progressive metal flag high and proud.
Sorry for the mini-rant, heh. I’m finding this as entertaining a listen as it is educational. ‘Second Thoughts’ is a smash mouth 3 minute romp that crushes your ears and includes an awesome mountain climbing chorus that you will find yourself singing along with. ‘Falsifier’ is one of the stronger titles on this release as it feels like the most complete song of the collection. Full sound, excellent build, well-written lyrics, all the while paced out well enough to give you an amazing 5 minutes. Matter of fact, this track is the real first song I had to stop myself and re-listen to. Holy shit, I thought local small town bands were supposed to give it an honest effort of emulating some of the best acts in the world, not actually stand toe to toe! All right, my expectations are now rising going into the second half of this album.
‘Sentient’ is another great example of blistering guitars that quickly gain momentum when it hits the chorus line. Also, it was a nice touch having this track preceded by ‘A Moment of Awakening’, which continues throughout ‘Symbiosis’, incorporating a soft intro that gradually shatters your ears with Grassl’s now expected screams. ‘White Shores’ brings back a bit of that edginess that was present earlier within ‘Recognize your Potential’, while bringing a very powerful portion to the table during the chorus. Moment of truth here, I could put this track up against tracks from Persefone’s ‘Aathma’, and I truly believe that Constance could hold their own in most listening circles. Bravo!
‘Luster’ is a decent fluff track that uses some soft keys to transition to the final track ‘Downhearted’. Highlighting some excellent crunchy guitars and marching orders percussion, we end with this song at just over 37 minutes. Man, I have to go back and listen again from the start!
My only real knock against this album is how quickly it’s over. It feels like just as it really starts to come into its own and you get used to the message or sound they are promoting, it ends. It definitely leaves you wanting more, but I almost feel like I have not been given enough, damnit! With a bit of added length the next go around it wouldn’t be too far beyond belief that some serious recognition could be coming their way.
With this being their inaugural album release, this leaves room for the band to grow and improve on new work and upcoming releases which, in all seriousness, is damn exciting! An incredibly bright future for these guys and I feel blessed to have been able to experience their beginning!
RECOGNIZE YOUR POTENTIAL
Review by Joshua Jaeger
2nd March 2018
3) Second Thoughts
5) A Moment of Awakening
6) Sentient (feat. Jared Steffen)
8) White Shores (feat Jake Olson)
9) Luster (feat. Evan Jordan)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"With this being their inaugural album release, it leaves room for the band to grow and improve on new work and upcoming releases which, in all seriousness, is damn exciting!"