originally posted on Saturday, 1 February 2014
In a time when heavy punk music is unfortunately turning out far too many whiny sung pop induced outfits, one must wonder what happened to not long ago when bands like Eighteen Visions and Atreyu were making music; bands that included a lot of screaming in to their music, as well as a lot of clean singing, all while being taken seriously by many music fans and not just kids. Now we have bands like Escape the Fate and Blessthefall who have a tendency to produce a lot of plastic songs, much like a pop song heard on a top 40 station, and it’s unfortunate that these bands take such influence from the likes of the previously mentioned Atreyu or Alexisonfire, and they are the closest thing we have to new music of the similar genre. That being said, it is always good to discover a band that can capture the serious side of the heavy punk, some may call “post-hardcore” sound. The most recent band that I have come across that features such aspects is California’s Fake Figures.
On paper it should come as no surprise; the most notable member of Fake Figures is one of the bands two guitarists Travis Miguel, none other than the guitarist of the previously mentioned Atreyu. While Atreyu has been on hiatus (a hiatus that will apparently not last much longer,) just like when most bands go on hiatus, the band’s members have been doing their own things musically. Alex Varkatzas has fronted metal band I Am War, whom are really nothing special, and drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller has fronted hard rock band Hell or Highwater; a band that I have already previously ranted and raved about when this blog was newer. It was only fitting that I’d come across Travis Miguel’s band sooner or later. Of the three projects, I would classify Fake Figures to be more similar to the sound of Atreyu, particularly Atreyu’s heavier days. Atreyu themselves indulged in a bit of the more pop side of song writing toward the end; 2007’s Falling Down comes to mind.
Fake Figures have recently released They Must Be Destroyed, which is, from what I’ve gathered, their second EP. While I did just say that this project is most similar to Atreyu than the others, the band and this EP are most certainly not Atreyu. To be clear, this is a completely separated band that simply falls under the same genre. Such can be heard on the opening track You Stupid Beast, which gets straight into a punk infused hardcore sound, mostly thanks to the powerful voice of Rus Martin. Rus does what I always wish more vocalists who insist on screaming do; he for the most part turns the screams in to melodies, rather than just yelling lyrics in the same note. In many ways, Rus’s voice reminds me of that of former Eighteen Visions vocalist and current Burn Halo vocalist James Hart, who has a very good singing voice and a surprising set of pipes when it comes to screaming.
The EP changes almost on a dime with the track The Light. While the EP’s opening track was fast and thrashy, The Light is much slower in tempo and features much more clean vocals. The Light shows that whatever listeners were thinking of the band after hearing You Stupid Beast was wrong, and maybe, just maybe what they are thinking of the band at this point in the EP could be wrong again. They would be right, as the following track Normal Life somewhat mixes the first two tracks in to one; the tempo is a bit quicker, much closer to that of a standard punk song, but it still features mostly clean vocals. The complimentary guitar playing of Travis and his guitar partner Heather Baker really come out shining in the songs slowed down bridge section.
Ophidian reminds me of an alternative metal song, slow and heavy like something a band like Breaking Benjamin could have written musically, but Rus’s slightly freer punk style of singing differentiates this track from the likes of Breaking Benjamin or ThreeDaysGrace. This is only a one song thing, as the following track, Sit and Burn goes right back in to a faster pace. The song starts off with a memorable riff and has one of the easier to remember choruses on the EP.
The EP comes full circle with the final track Here Come the Idiots. I find this to be a fine choice for the closing track on the EP because it features the most screaming vocals since the opening track You Stupid Beast, but it is of a slower pace like that of The Light or Ophidian, and it leaves the listener wanting more, which is what I always say a closing track should do.
I can take Fake Figures seriously, which is more than I can say than a lot of bands to come out lately. There is not much negativity that can be said about the six tracks presented on They Must Be Destroyed; all six tracks sound pretty different from one another, none of them lack too much originality, and there are surprisingly very few clichés found.
“Sit and Burn” – I liken this and Normal Life to both be good candidates to be the highlight. Both are of a similar pace and tempo, they aren’t the fastest, nor the slowest songs on the album. I may have picked Normal Life over Sit and Burn because it has more screaming in it and would give listeners a better idea of what the band sounds like, but unfortunately for Normal Life, Sit and Burn has a video that I can provide for readers so that they can have a listen.
8.5 (Out of 10)
|You Stupid Beast||3:29|
|Sit and Burn||3:15|
|Here Come the Idiots||3:21|