Monday, January 25, 2016

Album Review: Who Was I/ What I've Become

Can you feel the pain inside of me?
Can you feel the pain inside of you?

Its been a while. A while since I've been utterly blown away by a heavy indie band. But, I really was. Palm Bay Florida's Who Was I did just that. Their album, What I've Become literally grabbed me by the throat and would not let go until I was done listening to it. This isn't a grindcore band with guttural cookie monster vocals. Its great metal music played and sung by extremely talented musicians who could easily do prog metal if they chose to.

The album has been in the works for over two years. That's a long time for an indie release. But, masterpieces take time. It has really catchy and heavy hooks, great guitar work, powerful rhythm between bassist and drummer, Roach Rose and Aaron Ewing, and incredible vocals. Even a little bit of keyboards. Singer, Darin Faux has an amazing voice. A great range, with immense power behind it. And, while there are some growls, its for accents, and not throughout the songs by any means. There are also incredible vocal harmonies between Faux and guitarist, Steve Harvey. Not to mention some shredding guitar solos between Harvey and guitarist James Stowe. It has everything...except filler songs. None of those.

Steve Harvey

Their website has a tagline 'Heavy Metal For The Soul.' Its perfect because that's where the music hits you. Their mission is "to put together an original heavy metal band that would not only lyrically bring pleasure to the fans, but also deliver a performance that would send people home singing refrains from the music." Mission Accomplished. I was singing various lines from several songs to myself after hearing it the FIRST time. Now, I've memorized several songs. 

The album pretty much sets the tone with Inside of You. It starts off with a brutal guitar lick followed by a scream, then Faux's vocals start with a heavy flow of aggression. Remember when I said there were no filler songs? The level of professional intensity never lets up. Its a high throughout the album. There is even a very interesting version of The Doobie Brothers song, Long Train Running that you won't forget anytime soon. As for influences, the band sounds like the band. They have a style and sound all their own, although if I had to say who it kind of reminded me of, think a heavier Godsmack with a better singer. (Sorry, Sully!) 

Darin Faux
Whatever metal you like, there's something for you on this album. Vocal harmony? Over and Over is full of it, along with the title track. Hell, most of the album has vocal harmony. Heavy, machine gun guitar, brutal rhythm, along with great vocals and harmony. Falling Fast is a good example of it. Really, every song is stellar. The band even shows a little bit of a soft side (a little) in the title track, What I've Become, and Today. They are the closest thing to ballads on the entire album in that they start off acoustically. Then, they turn into slower metal songs that still hit heavy, and they both have HUGE choruses. The heaviest, songs, with a brutal groove are Undertow and the previously mentioned Falling Fast. While there are likely mosh pits through the majority of the songs in their set list, these probably have the highest likelihood of pit related injury.

Bass-Roach Rose, Drums-Aaron Ewing, Guitar-
James Stowe, Guitar- Steve Harvey,
Vocals-Darin Faux

Sometimes, I have a hard time reviewing an album when every song is equal and could stand alone. The stand alone songs are usually made up of everything great, and well written and produced, and it would get monotonous if I said the same thing about all the songs. This is one of those times. This is one of the best albums I've ever reviewed, and while I am not a fan of the super heavy bands, this album is incredible. Who Was I has successfully blended the brutal nature of the super heavy with music and vocals that will appeal to everyone. Basically, if you like any type of metal, you will like this. Period.

Go to their website, and BUY THE ALBUM! And, look for them on tour sometime soon. You'll love this one as much as I do, and I would bet money on it. This band has the skill and talent to go Worldwide. (Track 12) 

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