InCrest – The Ladder The Climb The Fall – Album Review
Looks like we’re definitely on solid ground here. Taking a look at the social media & pages of info on Copenhagen’s Alt-Rock band InCrest revealed a whole list of influences I’ve grown up with & loved myself…bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains from my grunge days…bands like Tool, Foo Fighters, and Mars Volta from later on in life…it’s built of a killer set of respectable sounds that have contributed enormously to my speakers & headphones throughout the years. It’s safe to say that if InCrest is as much of a fan of all these bands as I am, they’re gonna be puttin’ out some seriously kickass tunes on their brand-new record The Ladder The Climb The Fall. Stoked to check this out – let’s do this!
They come out gunning hard on “No Second Chance” – immediately putting their skills on display through a stunning show of musicianship and smart songwriting. LOVE the energy that this tune sparks the record with straight from moment one; drums from Jonas Tange immediately stand out to me in listening to this first tune. Clearly a killer drummer with incredible instincts – you’ll hear a barrage of smart choices that don’t just keep the beat – he does of course, but he’s also adding to the whole experience in all kinds of ways through clever fills and using the space to his advantage. Definitely working with a similar style & energy that you’d expect from the Foo Fighters; the music & melody hit HARD and the wild pace they twist & grind through on “No Second Chance” immediately pulls you in through incredible guitar hooks and the furious storming of beats coming from the drum throne. Vocal hooks are there…tons of personality on the mic and in the music that is bound to impress – there’s zero doubt about the instant appeal of InCrest. Absolutely wild & untamed energy on “No Second Chance” – you couldn’t possibly put this track on and not have everyone around turn their heads to listen – and I mean, I don’t know what more you could ask for in a first impression beyond that. Fantastic start.
Into the lead-single “Nightcrawler” – you gotta love just how much presence, confidence, and style singer Malte Slywest brings to the mic…ain’t gonna lie, that’s what’s really making this particular cut the single-worthy tune it becomes. He’ll put out a series of great performances when it comes to the vocals on this record, but no doubt about this being one of his personal best on the mic and the tune overall being one of the most accessible sounds on The Ladder The Climb The Fall. Powerful hooks on this cut – it’s definitely a seriously focused tune that shows they can bring it from the music to the microphone, but also a track that reveals they can make their tunes appeal to the masses at any time. Like any band out there with progressive tendencies or the talent to execute on’em, InCrest will arguably reach into more challenging tests of their overall skills on other tunes – but when it comes to the art of writing entertainment or a single-worthy cut, they completely prove they’ve got the chops & talent to make that happen on “Nightcrawler.” That rhythmic flow of the verse is immaculate, the recording & production are killer…they’ve truly made a great choice in putting this tune out there to entice the masses into their music…very good chance that “Nightcrawler” is the most accessible track on The Ladder The Climb The Fall – certainly satisfied my ears – my eyes too! Check out their shiny new video!
The sleek, dank, & dirty ol’ sound of the way “Anemia” slithers through your speakers as it begins is a fuckin’ masterstroke – that’s a KILLER vibe they’ve put into the verse. Tough song to examine as a reviewer…I ain’t gonna lie to ya or to them – they’ve probably out-written themselves from verse to chorus on this particular cut, happens sometimes and there really ain’t nothing wrong with that either. I personally think the chorus is decent, it fits well enough…as to whether or not it’ll lift up your interest beyond what you’re experiencing in the verse is a whole other question…but that’s more of a comment on how kickass the verse of “Anemia” really is…the chorus is still strong, there’s no doubt about it. In terms of different sounds that you’ll find on this whole record though, you gotta admire the added uniqueness in how they roll through the verses of “Anemia” so slickly & slyly…that’s seriously enticing sound right there is what that is. I mean, if I’m being as entirely honest as I always am – I might just like the verse of “Anemia” as my choice for strongest moment on the whole album…that’s how much I love what’s going on in this deadly sound they’ve come up with here. I suppose if anything, the chorus seemed to almost lighten-up the dark, menacing, & dangerous direction that the song starts out with; so on the one hand, that’s bound to bring in a few more listeners in that sense, and also serves us as listeners by allowing us to experience this cut without having to turn the lights on to do so. They head into a mellow Mars Volta-ish vibe throughout a lot of this tune…I think they’ve really put work into this cut & giving it that extra layer of personality that really consumes the atmosphere so well on “Anemia.”
“Aces” has that real fueled-up energy, control, stops, starts, and punch in the writing like a song from the Foo Fighters or Minus The Bear flash in their tunes. Highly appealing and accessible in the addictive vibe that “Aces” puts out through its fast pace – this cut is definitely a highlight for Anders Olsen on the bass, who moves and grooves throughout the heart of this whole tune as its unsung hero. I’m no stranger to how people listen to music…they’re gonna hear those gnarly vocals & big hooks, they’ve gonna hear those powerful drum hits & great tone they come with, they’ll notice the flash of the guitars…but dammit…I sure HOPE they’re hearing just how much ass Anders is kicking on the bass of “Aces” – cause it’s killer. If nothing else, I hear ya buddy…that’s stuff exceptional all-around played with great feel – something he’ll display countless times throughout the record and certainly on the song to follow called “Halo” as well. Definitely one of the more addictive choruses you’ll find on this new album from InCrest, “Aces” makes great use of the strained sound & extra gravel in the rasp of Malte’s voice as they rock through what’s becomes a solid mix of melody and equally hard-hitting sound. Transitions like you’ll hear from the way they storm & pound through the breakdown of “Aces” and so flawlessly, confidently & quickly back into the song’s main hooks reveal just how ready this band is for the big-time.
There are so many spectacular cuts on this record that it would be extremely tough to pin down an ultimate favorite from the whole set…BUT…for me…there’s a really good chance it could be “Halo.” In many ways, Malte’s giving us his best Maynard here in how he approaches the mic on “Halo” – but MAN does he sound GREAT. To sum it up quickly and succinctly for you all, this is amazing writing & execution from beginning to end by the entire band, full-stop. Guitar solo is off-the-charts cool, the breakdown is deadly, the bring-back is breathtakingly powerful – they’ve written a seriously exceptional tune on all-fronts with “Halo” that’s almost wise beyond their years as a band. It’s the kind of tune you’d expect to find on a 4th or 5th album in the best years of a band’s career…yet here we are on what’s only the 2nd record from InCrest, displaying just how rapidly they’ve already evolved as a three-piece unit. Excellent definition to this cut…almost a System Of A Down like approach to how the vocals come out sounding on parts of this tune as well, mainly the verse. Once again, InCrest finds a way to bring up the accessibility of their sound and potentially reach a wider audience with how they add the powerful chorus hooks. The pre-chorus moments have some of their best raw-edge on display as they build that energy to take them into the chorus hooks, which are almost closer to something by Our Lady Peace in many ways, especially their later tunes. I think it’s got a lot to do with that brilliant mix of tension & tone in the emotion that fuels Malte’s inspired performance on “Halo” and just how BIG these hooks really become. “Halo” is quite like experiencing the full potential & ambitions of a band reached 100%.
As IF they still had plenty to prove, the burn down what’s left of the barn with the scorching heat you’ll feel on “Run!” – this short track is supercharged with raw power and punked-up inclinations. We’re talking about a mere two-minutes in length – and a maximum party within one tiny tune; InCrest makes this moment last with hooks you’ll remember and energy that never quits. Probably borrowing a bit more unabashedly from the Foo Fighters on this particular cut…they can disguise it a bit with the difference in the vocal sound, but it’s pretty unmistakable when it comes to the music. Sometimes we can’t quite hide our influences…and there ain’t nothing wrong with that as long as you bring something new to it, which InCrest undeniably does here. “Run!” blazes with speed, skill, and bold melody leading the way, crushing it with killer guitars, drums, and bass all representing just how tight this unit really is.
Taking a moment to mellow out as they start into the second half of The Ladder The Climb The Fall, the natural hooks in the melody of “Highway” immediately stand out to the ears. You can hear that lighters-up sing-along subtle anthem coming…it’s a rare turn into a more tenderized sound from InCrest – and in full-proof of their versatility, they pull off a pretty endearing rock-song here. It still retains their alternative attitude & essence…if anything, it gives the band a bit more audible space to really shine a light on what each of these players bring to the band as they bring the melody to the surface of this more stripped-down sound. I can definitely hear people singing along with the simplified & smooth chorus…there’s like…no doubt about that whatsoever; you can feel “Highway” drift right into you with its inherently warm & inviting sound…and whether you realize it or not, soon enough you’re singing it too. Though they dip into some smoother terrain on “Anemia” earlier on in the record, “Highway” is the first turn into decidedly more slow & melodic ideas. Loved the way this song takes on a curious edge in the music once it really kicks-in…similar to how a Pearl Jam tune works in the verse before they expand the ideas into a more pop-rock inspired atmosphere than they’ve let us in on so far as a band on this record. Ultimately, I think there’s a lot of great things happening on “Highway” and I think it’s still got more than enough edge to its more gentle sound that still fit the album with perfect cohesion; as far as endings to any of the songs go from this set, the deconstructed way the finish this tune is up there with the best…loved the way they allowed Malte’s vocals carry out the isolated final moments.
While I think there are definitely certain songs on this record that would make for more accessible singles for the masses in comparison to the others at the end of the day, that’s true of any record. The important thing, is that InCrest never drops the ball when it comes to structure, writing, performance, and execution on any of these ambitious ideas. Like LISTEN to the amount of hooks there are on “My Own Enemy” – because this song is essentially built upon strength after strength after strength. Is it going to make it to the radio? Probably not the cut! It’s a totally different style of hooks…these are MEATY…these songs aren’t built to burn out quickly so much as stoke the fire in your speakers for years to follow…because this is the kind of writing that holds up & lasts when it comes to Rock-anything. Continually one of my favorite cuts on the record – you have GOT to appreciate what InCrest brings to their music when at their most creative, ambitious, inventive, and innovative like this – LISTEN to the guitars from Malte! Like c’mon people – that’s about as much wild personality and charisma as you can pack into one song. The drums from Jonas sound just as determined to not be outdone with a huge performance that pounds sound for miles & miles while Anders continually holds the fort down solidly, reliable & skilled as ever. Vocally, I think this is another massively killer performance from Malte on the mic…it’s a demanding tune to sing and he doesn’t ever let a note slip out of place on this cut; the writing is powerful and pulls you in strongly…a lot of that is purely due to how well he brings us in as listeners through the execution of the captivating melody that runs through “My Own Enemy.” Like a cross between Stone Temple Pilots and The Mars Volta on this cut…seriously spectacular ideas on this track.
Influences can always point to a few things…I don’t think there’s any accident whatsoever that the title of “100 And Ten” will remind you of “46 And 2” just as much as the performance they put in on this cut will remind you of Tool as well. Certainly no complaints from me – I felt like “100 And Ten” was one of the most gripping cuts on the record for sure – likely one of the less accessible perhaps by comparison due to its complex & progressive tendencies…but let’s face facts, there’s more than a few fans out there of sounds as beastly and behemoth as this tune is. They punch “100 And Ten” with all the right emphasis, power, and precision your ears are craving, giving this cut a looming presence that lurks like a shadow you can see coming at you in the corner of your eye as you run through an alley at midnight. Don’t tell me you haven’t been there, c’mon now, we all have…you know that feeling of danger. “100 And Ten” stops & starts brilliantly…I mean, you gotta love the way the guitars and bass interact on the verse and the lurking, creepy sound they leave hanging in the air surrounding the vocals. Impressive musicianship and tight songwriting lead them to an extraordinary victory here on the hard-hitting “100 And Ten” – for those looking for InCrest to fully unleash their most powerful moments, chances are, it’s the blazing intensity and forceful sound of the epic heights this track will reach that’ll be what you want.
EVERY time the rhythmic & melodic chops of the guitars on “The Ladder” start I found I was in a personal mix of feelings that included both loving everything I heard and the slight pang of jealousy – because DAMN does this song just sound like incredible fun to play. I mean, it’s serious as fuck – don’t get me wrong…it’s got a slow-burning & smoldering sound that builds perfectly and detonates brilliantly – but still, FUN to play this tune I bet – the dynamics of this cut are built & designed to entertain. Highlighting pretty much everything I’m loving about InCrest, this versatile tune & the music they make truly keeps you INTERESTED…good lord…I have no words to express just how valuable that is as an asset to them. Best way I can put it is that they’re keeping it just as interesting to themselves as musicians as they are to us as listeners…it’s the kind of focus & passion that leads to longevity in a band over time. But as far as just making something that really captures our attention in a genre that’s stocked wall-to-wall with bands trying to make it every day – InCrest continually stands out, because you can hear that effort, involvement, and investment they’ve made in every move throughout this record. Thematically of course, “The Ladder” also draws out the title of the record and flushes out the message of what InCrest is looking to communicate to you on The Ladder The Climb The Fall. Not only is it a continually raw and thrashing melody with real life in its veins, but “The Ladder” also has multiple highlights for Malte’s vocals once again and in the writing itself…this band executes at a massively high level.
A modern-day ode to insomnia, “Neversleep” sets you down gently to end the record on delicate tones. Going acoustic and drawing the sweetness of the melody into the spotlight, the bass tones fit perfectly, the guitars are immaculate in the solo, and the vocals, as always, seem to fit the vibe spot-freakin’-on. I think you have to admire the amount of versatility and control that Malte sings with…when the energy in the music calls for him to rise up, you can count on him to be there – when they take that rare opportunity to dial it back, he can add that sweetness to the sound & switch up his game from raging rock to endearing melody at any time. Excellent lyrics, loved the way the background vocals were laced-in as well, the bass gives “Neversleep” an extraordinarily warm glow…and honestly, Malte might be ending this record on the ultimate highlight…I could definitely make an argument for that. As fantastic as he is when he’s rocking right out at maximum lung-capacity – the amount of control, swagger, style, and stunning tone he sings this more low-key & chilled-out melody with really hits the mark bang-on. Overall, “Neversleep” displays remarkable focus and smarts…and rather than explode this moment with some sort of overblown & extreme energy bursting through, they let you exit this album through the beauty they’ve created in their most sincere & subtle moments on The Ladder The Climb The Fall.
Regular readers of this page, you all know I can be tougher on Rock music in all its forms more-so than any other genre…but there’s nothing to complain about the compelling record this three-piece has put out whatsoever. From production to performance, InCrest has remained tight AF and brought their A-game to The Ladder The Climb The Fall, creating a wild experience & record that’ll really hold up the years to follow, largely due to the inventive & innovative ideas they’ve got & the courage to go after them all in their music.
Find out more about InCrest at their official website at: http://increst.dk
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