This release has me arguing with myself about what I will say regarding Figures debut ‘Chronos’. Stick with me here. There’s some remarkable strength behind this Melbourne based 5 piece.
From the beginning I’m not a fan of their generic repetitive chugging and low-end riffing. Perhaps my ears have just gotten too used to complex djenty riffage but all the same I am bored within seconds and considering whether to continue.
To be fair…it is every bit as good (subjective term) as any nu-metal release of recent days or old. If they intend to ride that oddly resurgent trend then they’ve nailed it. Nostalgia, for what it’s worth, pays dividends when aimed at the right audience. I am not that audience and as I listen I’m ready to switch it off…
UNTIL….the choruses hit.
‘Figures’ could be contenders as a new Karnivool/Butterfly Effect legacy band. Epic doesn’t even begin to cover it. I have not been so surprised by any release this year as I was with ‘Chronos’. With each track..just as I began to feel like skipping, the pace or mood shifts into these absolutely outstanding choruses. Melody and lyrical hooks are saving this, no not saving it..selling it! Seriously, what the hell!!!!!!????
There’s everything from Incubus, Sevendust, Staind and a stack of other 90’s heavy hitters being channelled into this material. But it’s so good..i don’t even mind.
The opening track ‘Recoil’ starts strong enough with a very Coal Chamber-ish riff and vocalist Mark Tronson screams furiously over the top. Where things get interesting is with the unexpected switch to a soaring and masterfully controlled chorus melody that would fit somewhere between epic and ridiculous.
The guy carries this band on his shoulders.
Next up is ‘Alpha’ which..has the band sounding like a very pissed off Incubus, pairing some sharp riffing and a great uplifting melody with some curiously dark notes and chords in places that catch you off guard.
‘Tied Around’ bursts out with a great dissonant riff stabbing along with the drums and it all feels pretty interesting but quickly afterwards they settle down into a riff ripped straight from the Deftones classic ‘RX Queen’ from the untouchable White Pony album. It’s hard to listen to this band and not hear all the places and parts that are clearly inspired from early 00’s nu-metal bands. On the whole though..the song is a strong offering and sits well within the context of what Figures are going for.
Closer ‘Crying Door’ is a significantly different approach from the band using piano/bass/drums with haunting effect and ambience. It’s another great platform to showcase Marks range and control of his voice and I think kudo’s to the players for branching out this way. There’s some solid bass playing which finally gets to breathe without the guitars over the top and to her credit, Jen has locked it right down with the drums. It’s tight.
Whilst I’m not on the fence concerning some of the aspects of Figures sound (clearly), it’s all forgiven in the wake of absolute class where it counts. Perhaps the impact is made all the more pronounced by being sandwiched between ‘meh rifs’ and ‘borrowed parts’ giving the big hooks even more appeal. Whatever, it works.
In short.. if they continue to develop their sound and try new things within the ‘heavy’ sound they’re working with .. I predict BIG things for this quartet. There’s a lot to suggest that this is the making of another great hard rock act for Australia.
‘Chronos’ drops June 16, visit the links bellow to pre-order/stream/download etc al