IIOIOIOII – Post Brimstone – EP Review
Definitely some excellent moments in sound on this new EP, Post Brimstone…there are a few slight-stumbles as well…but for the better part of this new recording I felt my attention stay right with the rhythms, energy and melodies of electro-artist Christopher Gurney making music as IIOIOIOII.
I found the Post Brimstone EP largely front-loaded…most of the songs that I felt were executed perfectly are towards the beginning. A song like “Face Them All” has a wonderful electro-pulse to it; menacing sounds to the synth and perfect electro-additions chime in to flush out the beat in-full. Christopher sings this one perfectly as fits right into the mix with a smart echo-trail that lets the vocals bleed into the music cleverly. Great breakdowns full of electro-awesomeness before he switches into a droning-style chorus that I felt worked exceptionally well…it’s like a song for the anti-hero…the one capable of saving us all, but like, burdened with the task. It’s a charismatic & dynamic tune and a brilliant start to the EP.
“We Are The One” was equally impressive. A dreamlike, airy atmosphere opens up into a drumbeat that drives this second song forward. Once again, Chris has found a successful melody that works well with his vocal-style; he borders on the monotone/bored sound but never fully crosses over into misery…there’s a very inspiring tone to his voice when he lets it out in just the right way. “We Are The One” is a highlight for that very reason…the chorus – IIOIOIOII is putting on a clinic on how to create melodies that sneak up on you and Chris sings this part with a beautiful tone and emotion in his voice. The changes happen subtly in the music…the added energy in the chorus and Chris’ inspired tone really create an uplifting atmosphere that is completely rhythmic & addicting…loved this tune.
Figures I’d fall in love with the shortest tune on the EP eh? I mean…ONLY five-minutes and sixteen-seconds on “We Are The One” Chris? C’mon man…want more for yourself! And if not yourself, want more for me! 😉
“Second Chance” starts to reveal a few of the slight-cracks in the EP with a very forced vocal-flow that takes you out of the flow of the music. It’s a tough one…and quite simply it needs a few more words for the metering to work in-full…as it stands, Chris is doing his ultimate-best to stretch some of these lyrics out to fit the tempo and the result is an audible-awkwardness at points. I like the atmosphere in the music, and I think I get what he’s going for on this one…but I’d also bet any money that he’d agree with me that this one was somehow a tougher one for him to sing/get right in the studio. And again, I think that comes down to the metering of the vocals…as a singer, I think one of the best things you can do is sometimes really step away from a song and rather than try to go in there and get that awkward part to fit, sometimes a rewrite of a line or two can make all the difference in the world. No sense trying to bang the square through the circle-hole, know what I mean?
Musically, “One Moment” is an absolute standout from the moment it starts. The contrasting energy between the verse and chorus seem to work pretty well…and I think Chris redeems himself through the vocals on the main hook in this song. It’s such a fine-line of a style for a singer in this vein of song-writing…preserving those low-tones in-full often lead to that feeling like it lacks energy…and if you put more energy in, you risk losing the smooth low-tones…so give the guy some credit, it’s a tough style to pull off. Even though the changes/variation of “One Moment” felt less substantial than some of the preceding songs, this tune has a gentle, gliding, hypnotic-rhythm supplied by the hook that really holds the attention captivated and frozen in time, for just one moment.
“Until There’s Nothing Left Of Us” was an interesting final tune…for a moment it actually reminded me of the tones and atmosphere of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” and nobody wants that! A forlorn piano drives a melancholy melody…truly beautiful in moments, truly sad & heartbreaking in others…he’s done a fantastic job on the music. Vocally…a little all-over-the-map in this final-cut…some moments where he’s nailed it perfectly and others that sound more cautious, unsure and unconfident. The music itself completely keeps this final tune a part of this EP…there’s a magic in this composition for sure. For what it’s worth…I don’t think Chris is too far away from this song becoming perfected…he’s so damn close, just a few iffy spots vocally but the music is at its utmost captivating. Loved the additional layers of backing vocals whispering in the chorus towards the end of the song, they worked great…but the piano and music are truly the star of this final track. And smartly, IIOIOIOII ends Post Brimstone letting the instrumental part of the music end the EP brilliantly…the silence that occurs after the record has played puts you into instant deep-thought mode after such a heavy ending.
Cool stuff from IIOIOIOII…I think there’s still a lot of room to grow, but I also think this is a helluva set of ideas on display and the majority of them are conquered with confidence and innovative ideas. I’d definitely be interested to hear where Chris and the music of IIOIOIOII go from here…the potential is certainly here and I’d expect this artist to grow in some extremely fantastic ways from here.
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