Three years have passed since the indefinable masterwork that is “Mutiny Within” was released. Two years of that were spent believing that a second album would never come to fruition. This week Mutiny Within rewarded fan patience by ending both timelines with the self-release of the long-awaited, "Synchronicity".
We try so hard to assign labels by way of giving others a somewhat defining view of what to expect. We create sub-genres to further categorize, then we fault the same musical artists for venturing beyond the fences we created for them. What has long drawn me to this band of England/Jersey musical talents is the very sense that, while one could assign some label to them–”they are a metal band”–for instance, that they represent much more than a genre, and it becomes our own inability to open our “mental parachute” that prevents us from all that might be.
If one jumps into “Synchronicity” with set sonic expectations they will probably have those views, good, bad or indifferent, set in concrete. However, if one listens to this album as an open experience, I believe that person will gain so much more from record than originally expected.
Soapbox moment concluded, set aside. To the music…
The album opens with “Embers”, a track that has been floating around since the first album’s tour. It marks all we have come to love about the Mutiny Within sound; dynamic rhythms, texturing and layers, technical guitar wizardry, a huge hooky chorus, and the trademark vocals that brings it all to fruition.
This feel recreates, in great measure, the many elements that drew us to the band on the debut record. The first few tracks, “Embers”, “In My Veins”, “In A Moment” and “Falls To Pieces” bridge the three-year hiatus nicely.
It is notable that five of the six original members of Mutiny Within returned in full or part for this record. Only keyboardist Drew Stavola has left the fold for non-music related pursuits. What is immediately apparent is how the lack of keyboards did not leave a hole in the band’s ‘wall-of-sound” signature. This can be attributed in equal measures to the production by vocalist Chris Clancy and the visionary meticulousness and exacting impact of bassist and primary songwriter, Andrew Jacobs.
Metal music is generally based off two things; attitude and “the riff”. Mutiny Within does it differently, which is something else that sets the band a part. Mutiny Within replaces attitude with mood–each track seemingly less about the intent than the feel of it.
Likewise, despite the duel-guitar attack, “Synchronicity” is not predicated on the riff. The technical shred wizardry of Brandon Jacobs and Daniel Bage suffuse the entire record: Rather than hitting the listener like a brick through a plate-glass window, the guitars become the prisms through which the light passes through said glass…sonically speaking of course. The textures are maddeningly divine.
This is not to say that Mutiny Within are not able to embrace attitude and riff. That is exactly what the band does on “Machines”. The song harks back to its original melodic death metal foundation for much of the song. In fact, if not for Clancy’s unique clean vocals on the chorus one might think they’d tripped onto a new Arch Enemy tune.
Clancy uses that emotive voice of his to angsty perfection on “Never” and raging vehemence on “Become”. Andrew Jacobs found, in the throat of Clancy, a superbly charismatic vehicle through which to channel the depth of his songwriting. The two pay compliment to each other in a way few partnerships achieve. Clancy also wields his gifted lyrical insights as confidently as he does his voice and production talents, adding yet more depth to each track.
“Balance” attacks with a driving military precision–Harsh vocals on the verses and soaring cleans on the chorus. Among the dozen of incredibly strong tracks on “Synchronicity” this is one that steps forward from the pack, as does “Signs”.
“The Unsaid”: Throughout the record Bill Fore performs like a driven beast behind the drum kit, and there are moments in each track where you catch yourself mesmerized by his contained chaos, but it really hits you upside the head like a crowbar on the album’s closing track.
While “Synchronicity” is void of much of the organic creativity afforded bands who can step into a studio together, the strength of the material readily overcomes it. “Synchronicity” combines rich melodies with dazzling fretwork, inspired vocal performances, and as a solid a rhythmic foundation as one could hope to find. There is not a weak song in the bunch, giving fans a solid 46 minutes of fantastic auditory escape.
In brief: If you enjoyed the band’s debut album you will also want to own “Synchronicity“, which can be purchased directly from the band here.
It is more important than ever that we support through music through purchase, to help the bands we love and help find a cure for music piracy. Mutiny Within is working hard to bring attention to this issue through its Industry Embers project.
Check out our recent interview with Bill Fore.
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Music is the universal language: Speak it loudly!