But if you're a true metal-core fan, it's really the same as any other genre -- a trained ear can hear significant differences from band to band and can readily launch into a tirade about the unique qualities of each. You know why you like certain things and why you dislike other things.
Although well-versed in the gospel of metal-core, I was still a significantly new fan about a year and a half ago when Christian rockers Means crossed my radar screen. I'd been driving around with the drummer of my band at the time when he slipped in the album and told me to expect big things.
I wasn't impressed.
A few weeks later, my drummer was still raving about them. I thought, "What the hell?" and gave them another try. I found myself more intrigued with every listen. It was perhaps more melodic and less chaotic than a lot of hardcore I'd heard, but it certainly didn't find itself falling into the realm of 'screamo.'
For awhile it was difficult to put a finger on what really attracted me to the Saskatchewan locals, but several listens later, the tremendous bottom end on every song was finally popping out at me. Guitarist Matt Goud's driving riffs were so bottom-heavy that you would almost think he was playing a distorted bass. I'd never really heard anyone riff quite like that on the low end of the musical spectrum, but I liked it. (Not to underplay the tremendous riffs of death-metalers like Soilwork, but there's just something different about Means' presentation.)
Now, almost a year and a half after Means' breakout Sending You Strength, the band is putting out a new full-length, entitled To Keep Me from Sinking and due out May 27 on Facedown Records. The band recently posted two new songs from the album on their myspace.
The verdict? "Breaking In" was disappointing and fell a little astray from the band's usual feel; "Burned Into Me" hung tight with the old stuff. But overall, what's with the change in scream-style? These guys had a good thing going. Although there's not much information about the band out on the web, the little I've found doesn't really point to any line-up changes between the two albums.
Still, I'm going to give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Let's hope we'll be seeing a great new album out of these guys.
I was going to post the video for "Connected" above but the embedding was disabled (is it me or has that been happening a lot lately? who doesn't want free press?). Instead, you'll have to go here (take note, idiots at record labels, that I'm a nice guy and will send my readers to the video anyway). Rock and roll.
"We cannot arrive at the perfect possesion of love in this life / And that is why we are travelling and travelling in this darkness."
- Means, "Cadences"