Between The Void – Between The Void – Album Review
Gotta admit…when I first heard Incubus way back in the S.C.I.E.N.C.E. days…I never in my wildest dreams would have believed I would hear as many bands as I have since that have been truly inspired by that band. As they progressed through their career – I certainly understood it more and more…but really, it’s amazing how many bands that come through these speakers where you can absolutely hear how intense the impact made really was…I didn’t even need to check out the ‘about’ section of Between The Void’s social media to be able to pick that out – but of course in researching the band, I certainly noticed they were listed in the influences and rightly so. And I’ll say this to you all out there…which is of course, just my opinion and all…but it’s absolutely okay to be influenced by a band as mighty as Incubus…at least in the recorded sense. Brandon Boyd was an arrogant prick both times I’ve seen them live personally to the point where I know there won’t possibly be a third time…not to mention the music was so frickin’ flawlessly played that the show was as boring as boring could be – I might as well have listened to the records at home. So…again…to make the point – got no problem with the music of Incubus – but lord help us all if we take after them onstage.
Anyhow! We’re here to talk about the rock/alternative music of Between The Void, not Between The Boyd…and after a quick computer programming session and glitch-filled “Intro” – this four-piece band from the UK comes slamming into gear on their first official track “Forget To Live.” And there’s a lot to be liked about the sound right away; the pounding drums of Marc Canning…the guitars from Oli Frame and lead-singer/guitarist John Eales make a quick impact on the ears and volume of your stereo as they come out gunning. “Forget To Live” is fueled with aggression and intensity…but also a brilliant melody-line that’s hidden within the subtext of the music through John’s vocals. Really love the way this track moves and sounds – I get just enough of everything I need. There were moments where I felt like I might want to hear John a bit louder in the mix – but at the same time, I always accept that trade readily, knowing that it often leads to a larger sound in the music overall, as it certainly does on “Forget To Live.” That is of course, as long as you’re not hiding some weak-ass vocals in behind it all – which for the record, Between The Void are certainly not. John breaks through the mix at all the right moments and soars in and out of the mix as “Forget To Live” plays – and you can hear exactly what a powerhouse this guy really is in everything you hear.
Much like the influence I’ve cited in their music already, the guitars and vocals continue to standout incredibly on “Relax.” You can definitely pick up that Incubus influence once again in the vocals of Eales – and the combination of crunch of distortion and brilliant instrumentation in the stuttered timing of the solos that enter “Relax” are sonically awesome in every way. If you were to nail me down for what the magic of “Relax” really IS though – I’d argue straight-up, it’s the songwriting and performance here. The chorus of “Relax” is anything BUT something you could “Relax” to…or, that is to say, at the very least I know that I can’t! This chorus absolutely explodes from the speakers and amps me right the hell up in all the right ways…and the way that it shifts back into its understated main verse is pure perfection. You’ll hear Between The Void for yourself on the upcoming episode of the SBS Podcast on June 3rd and I struggled to narrow it all down as to which song I’d pick…but given that one of the other main-tunes from this record I was thinking I might play is one that’s shared on their page at Soundcloud (see/hear below) – I figured this will be the one I end up choosing for you all when we put that episode out there tomorrow. So brace yourself…cause “Relax” is one HOT motherfucker of a song! You’ve been warned.
They keep the intensity crashing hard through the intro to “Based On Real Life Events” as it begins, until it breaks into the verse. John is coming through at nearly a whisper in behind the music of this one ‘til that switch into the chorus has this band bursting wide-open once again. You’ll also notice the bass-lines of Pippa Gillingham creeping into the mix a little more here on “Based On Real Life Events” around the spiraling, deafening, insatiable crunch of those guitars. I dig this track as much as any I’ve heard so far on the record – but I’ve gotta say, Between The Void ends up absolutely taking the end of this song to extraordinary heights. From the break of its final chorus, the band transitions to an all-instrumental rock & groove throughout past the two & a half-minute mark and really lights-up the ol’ soundboards. Excellent ideas here from Between The Void – and though I’ve compared them with Incubus already several times throughout this review – it’s important to mention that they’re not timidly inserting their influence into the music, they’re flat-out OWNING it, if not very-well declaring the full-rights to this style of alternative-rock. It’s been quite a while since Incubus rocked as hard as Between The Void does now.
In a brief excursion into the minute-long haze of “Inventor’s Dream” – Between The Void lets you relax for a moment for real before they rip into the rhythm-section led cut, “My Invention.” What stood out quickly on this one was that the clarity of John’s vocals came more towards the front, which sounded great – but you also really get to hear Pippa take her moment to truly shine on “My Invention” and the relationship between herself and the drums from Canning take this track for a seriously rhythmic & intense ride. You don’t have to take my word for it – this one I can share with ya right from their Soundcloud page – so have a listen for yourself below!
You see? I mean…you hear? That’s a rad track right there. The complexity of the timing as it begins…the crashing breakdown into the verse and the way that Pippa takes control of the music here…the increased confidence in the mix of John’s vocals – it all comes together smashingly-perfect here on “My Invention.” With some of my favorite guitars on the record too! Check out that line that Oli (or perhaps John) rides throughout just past a minute in – that’s a completely awesome sound and the tone/precision of it all makes it phenomenal to listen to. A big, rock-solid checkmark in the WIN category for “My Invention.”
Oh here we go. Lighters-up people, grab your loved ones for a slow-dance…we finally found the baby-maker on “Gone.” Okay…just kidding around – I wouldn’t go that far with that statement…but they’ll have you believing me for a moment as “Gone” begins. Between The Void has done a completely solid job of keeping their music captivating and entertaining throughout – the guitars of “Gone” really move this track along with perfection – there are some tremendously well-realized ideas here on this one track, executed as professionally as they are chaotic. Great tones once again to the guitars and the melody in behind the madness – the amount of transitions and different layers to their music is certainly something to be admired as they pull it all off incredibly well. Even though “Gone” sends John back into the enveloping atmosphere of the music once again – you can still hear that he’s hitting some of his best moments on this self-titled record on “Gone” – he’s a wicked & fantastic voice in alternative-rock.
I know a TON of you out there that would love the way that Between The Void pounds out their authentic authority on “Lovey Warne.” They focus hard on the grind here, and the melody-lines aren’t completely forgotten, but audibly, it’s noticeable that they’re not the number-one priority on “Lovey Warne.” One of the harder-tracks on the record for certain, they relax just slightly long enough to re-mount the chips on their shoulders in an excellent breakdown led by Pippa’s bass-line before taking the track to the end. A lot of time is spent on the instrumentation of “Lovey Warne,” which probably has much more time spent instrumentally than it spends with vocals involved. The hooks of this song come completely through the music itself, which really speaks towards the depth you’ll find in the music of Between The Void and how they’re able to carry these tunes with or without John leading the way on the microphone. The impressive dimensions of this band come at you from all-angles – and I certainly appreciate that and admire it for the same reasons.
It’s like they bloody-well heard everything I just said when you listen to “The Silence Of Alex Marshal” – this track has all the right ingredients to it and makes for a seriously impressive listen. A pillar of the strengths that hold this album up – the riffs that begin the track and the way it storms through its aggression before finding its way back to these melodic riffs…the absolutely astounding power of its chorus…it all adds up to one hell of a ride on “The Silence Of Alex Marshal.” Though I’ll admit…I had a bit of a chuckle on this one…even in some of the slower, more subtle-moments of this track – it’s like Between The Void chose not to inform Canning…this guy continues to punish that drum-set like his life depends on it and truly beats the living shit out of that kit on this loud & proud cut. Great writing stands out again here on “The Silence Of Alex Marshal” – the timing switches, the transitions between the different parts of the song…they all serve to prove just how ready this band really is to take hold of their place atop of the charts right in the here and now of music’s history. Another massively explosive chorus on this tune…it just blazes white-hot as they switch into this incredible, other-worldly gear.
Shifting into a more groove-rock/grunge sound that Kyuss would be damn proud of – “Recover” has a serious grip on a twisted-sound that really works well for Between The Void. As if they’re determined to burn the rest of the barn down right here on “Recover” – this song moves from a dank-grunge to an all-out declaration of war on rock-music as it plays. You can hear the influence of bands like Rage Against The Machine and Alice In Chains on a cut like this…it would definitely seem as if Between The Void and I have all grown up loving the same bands and artists throughout the 90’s for sure. The storming wind & grind of “Recover” really hits the mark and the band collective storms the gates with relentless authority on this cut as they enter the final quarter of the album. Incredible vocals once again from John, but truly, they’ve all proven to be flawless throughout their stunning performances on this self-titled effort.
Okay…this time we’ve really found the baby-maker, so start the stripping and get ready to make love, not war on “Photograph.” The last impression I’d want to give you is that they don’t pull a less aggressive sound off just as well – because for the most part I’d argue that this does come out just as powerfully as the rest of the material does. The only thing I wasn’t entirely sure about, is the one accenting line on the opening melody…it’s like a flute or a synth-flute…something along those lines…they don’t abandon it as the song plays on, but it does find itself better mixed-in to this track as it heads to its ending. At the outset, it’s up a bit too much in the mix…or maybe it doesn’t quite sit just right with me personally…not entirely sure it was necessary; I felt it overtook the rest of what’s happening just a bit too much, though I did appreciate that the band is continuing to try new things even in the later-stages of the album. The bass-lines certainly work wonders – as do the guitars once again…and overall, hearing Between The Void give themselves a moment to catch their breath and reflect on memories throughout a more stripped-down sound adds to the versatility and dimensions of sound on the album. You can hear that this is a little more on the accessible-side to all, not just the alternative-rock fans out there…excellent crossover appeal in a song like this that is bound to have them pulling in fans from other genres.
Of course – everything we’ve heard would certainly lead you to believe that they won’t sit still for very long…and they don’t as they bring up the intensity in the opening of “Prisoner’s Dilemma.” John has one of his most powerful performances on the microphone here in this song’s chorus – MAN does this guy just detonate and explode at all the right times when the energy in the music calls for him to do so. Great instincts and dynamic writing as they switch between a low-key verse and ramped-up chorus, all still with enough hooks to hold your attention firmly in the palm of their hands as they lead you through another adventure in intensity into another spectacular ending. Leading you perfectly into the final blasts of thunder and flashes from Between The Void, “Innuendo.”
Can’t even begin to express what a highlight ending this final track is. It literally has everyone at their absolute best in the heavy-set rhythms and grooves of “Innuendo” – and it really gives this entire album the energetic ending it truly deserved. You can’t single-out any one player in this final cut – on “Innuendo” whether you examine the guitars, the bass, the drums or the vocals – they’re all hitting their stride with confidence and a massively entertaining performance. Between The Void is exceptional when it comes to the alternative-rock genre…which hasn’t always been something I’ve bragged about on our pages. I’m tough on rock-music in all forms – but Between The Void didn’t just hit the mark with this record – they fucking smashed it.
And I’ve still got lots more I wish I could say…so I will – but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow when the SBS Podcast makes its return. I’ll dish out some insight and notes direct from the band regarding some of the songs I’ve discussed today, and of course, challenge you all to try to “Relax” when we spin one of their seriously impressive tunes on the show.
For now – find out more about Between The Void at their official pages below!
Join the thousands of bands & artists reviewed at sleepingbagstudios by clicking here!