The makings of a growing sub-genre in Issues’ Beautiful Oblivion
Further progressing their genre melding style, Nu-Metalcore/Pop-Metal/R&Bcore band, Issues, ended the decade with a new full length album titled Beautiful Oblivion, which brought more funk, R&B, pop and soul to the metal subgenre than ever before.
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Thank you for the last 8/9 years, not sure who we would be today without Issues. Not sure what life would be like. There’s a lot to look back on within the last decade. No one ever imagined we would last this long, we were just some kids chasing some dreams, turning art and passion into a career, and becoming men through this band. Together. With you. Thank you, here’s to the 20s!
Coming off the loss of one of their unclean (metal screaming) singers, the band, now as four, have created a genre-blending masterpiece. Though they have dropped some of the powerful metalcore from their style, they have found space to defy the genres they mix to create something new in the form of Beautiful Oblivion.
Overall, the album brings their metalcore roots into a larger presence of the funk, R&B, rap, pop and soul influences that make up this new sub-genre of music they seem to be pioneering.
The album opens with Here’s To You. It’s definitely the most metal-like song in the album, with the band’s singer, Tyler Carter, roaring during the chorus,
“I’m stuck in my ways, so drunk day after day, too much to undo, couldn’t make you stay, here’s to you, here’s to you!”
The song shows the R&B influence vocally in the verses, and lyrically. The first pre-chorus really has some floating groove with the stripped-back instrumentation, humming bass, and distorted synth following Carter’s melody. The song, however, does boast their metalcore style, which turns the chorus and verse into a heavier song and then changes up the second pre-chorus with a great driving drum beat. Here’s to You’s genre really sets the album up for some surprises in its composition, even if you’re expecting more of what they’ve done before.
Drink About It is the first single out of three for this album. It has a deeper R&B focus, and Carter really brings some sass with his vocal performance, singing about a cheater being found out by their partner. Carter’s voice really elevates the track, with some delicacy to the verses, punchy choruses and some soaring falsetto to close the song. This track is definitely one of the highest points of the album, but there’s still so much more to come.
Find Forever is the first track that hits from left field. Described as a wedding song, the whole song is bouncing and brings a cheerful groove from start to finish telling a lover to,
“Take me to the chapel, baby!”
With a funky bass, bouncing lead guitar riff and the addition of a choir and saxophone to make it even more surprising, it is as infectious as any love song, but adds that metal root.
Following on in the album, Tapping Out, Without You, Downfall, Second Best and Get it Right give similar feelings to the two opening tracks of the album. Tapping Out and Get it Right do come with some unclean vocals, while Without You mixes rapping with funk and synth. The pop-punk inspired Rain feels like it’s thrusting you into a Panic! at the Disco concert with Carter’s vocal performance, the simpler chord progression in the chorus, and the pleasant guitar melodies during the verses.
Flexin’, is another single and the low-point of the album. It feels like they wanted to be like Justin Timberlake, trying to channel his inner Prince. It doesn’t quite work, and it feels out of place even in this album. The bass synth just drones on, and only becomes more irritating as the song progresses. They almost pick it up with the funky guitar and drums but they can’t quite save it. Carter stated on Twitter (the tweet now deleted) that this song started as a joke and has satirical lyrics about rebellion, but not even that can redeem it. The only good thing is that it’s the shortest song in the album only running for two minutes and 25 seconds.
Track 11, No Problem, has some more lax vocals for the album using soulful piano. The bridge is a stripped-back, yet driving mix of vocals, drums, and simple bass line with some runs thrown in, that really chills you out with the vocals especially. It feels like you might be at a nice, small bar, at least until the lead guitar and choir come in.
HOUSTON who’s ready to turn up tonight at House of Blues 🕺🕺🕺 we’re expecting a lot of booty shaking when we play Flexin’ so DON’T LET US DOWN pic.twitter.com/GDRrbRCye8
— ISSUES (@issues) November 9, 2019
Your Sake, is Carter’s obligatory ballad for the album, sounding like Tears on the Runway from 2014’s Diamond Dreams. It only features Carter and piano, bearing his heart about having to breakup, singing,
“I’ll cherish everything we had to this day, wish I could be somebody else for your sake”
The album closes off with the titular song Beautiful Oblivion. This song adds some slightly UK Garage sounding, driving drums, almost seeming like a club mix with its groove in the verses. Of course it only lasts until the guitars return for the choruses. The song marks a great, satisfying end to the album with the instruments stripped away, and only Carter’s voice left, a little distorted, sounding like he’s ending a phone call.
Beautiful Oblivion is really the next step taken by Issues. While they have stepped away from their metalcore and nu-metal standard, they’ve successfully cut a fine edge that brings the metal genre closer to their pop influences of Katy Perry, Kesha and Miley Cyrus (artists Carter named as influences to MTV), musically and lyrically.
Looking less Rage Against the Machine, Parkway Drive or Killswitch Engage, boasting modern R&B and pop lyrics rather than dark, damaged or politically-driven messages. The infectious choruses sung by Carter, and bringing bouncing and funky guitar riffs, Issues has really made a stepping stone in their own career, and the progression of this style blending subgenre of Nu-Metalcore/Pop-Metal/R&Bcore.