Relentless Pursuit – Through Confusion

 Relentless Pursuit – Through Confusion

Relentless Pursuit – Through Confusion – Album Review

There are some strong positives to build on here for Matthew Konradt, the mind behind the music you’ll hear on the debut album Through Confusion by Relentless Pursuit.  Like the deadly vibe of “On Probation” for example – it’s pretty meaty…the whole atmosphere is gnarly, and it’s got a really ambitious design to it all.  It’s the kind of first cut that tells you the effort is certainly being put in, and of course, that’s something we should all appreciate as listeners, regardless of what our personal taste might be.  Or how about the guitars that come surging in around the 3:45 mark?  That’s badass too!  Or the switch into straight-up melody around the 4:10 mark that takes us right out of the Metal and mayhem?  Genius!  He’s gonna have to acknowledge there’s a progressive vibe to this kind of music, which is a word that’ll instantly scare off half the planet looking for another song to simply sing along to, but spoiler alert y’all, this ain’t gonna BE that kind of experience, so you’ll have to get over that hurdle.  I dig the commitment…there’s no doubt about how impressive the effort is.  What worries me slightly on this particular track, is that the vocal sound at its most growly and intense, comes out very much comparable to what you’d imagine Cookie Monster would sound like singing it…and that should probably be a concern or at least something to be objectively considered as I don’t think that’s the real desired intention.  That being said, it’s not the only gear you’ll find Matthew rages into…he’s got several sides to his personality in this initial experience, and the majority of them work out really well.  Dude’s actually got an insightful gift for melody…which ain’t the focus of this first track so much as its most effective moment, but we’ll get more into that whole topic later on in the lineup of Through Confusion.

“Flamboyant Intoxication” sounds pretty damn vicious as it starts up, and once again, Relentless Pursuit will reveal a versatility that spreads out the song into a more artistically-inclined direction.  Dude gets downright Mastodon heavy at his most intense…with a Korn-like pop to the drum sounds…a lot of that works out well and hits the mark Matthew’s going for.  Is it gonna be for everyone?  As I remind ya all the time, the vast majority of music ain’t – so no, it’s not either.  This is for those that dig the heavy stuff without question…and I’d be the first to admit, it’s a LOT to take in & absorb.  My gut tells me that he’s probably gotta reign in these ideas and tighten’em up just a bit if he’s going to be looking for a more favorable reaction in the court of public opinion…but for those that dig a whole range of ideas within one experience, each of these songs will readily supply that for ya.  LISTEN to the way he comes out ready to rip some throat straight outta the gate on this one though will ya?  Konradt has gone all-out when it comes to the performances he’s put into “Flamboyant Intoxication” and the record at-large, and again, regardless of anyone’s personal taste, you gotta respect the dedication to every single second.  I’m still not ready to get into the melody conversation just yet…I’m saving that for a bit later to string you along and keep reading like the clickbait A-hole I am…but I’ll drop another not so subtle hint on ya about it, sure:  eventually, Matthew’s gonna come to a crossroad and decide if he wants to continue to mix it up as he has been with the diversity of his material, or to simply go with what clearly works best.

“Hit The Bricks” is an interesting track to me…it almost works in the opposite way that I’ve felt about the first two tracks.  Matt’s just slightly wide of the mark for the melody he’s looking for when he’s not getting his growl on…but the part itself, the verses, is a genius idea overall and could work out brilliantly in a Queens Of The Stone Age/Kyuss type of way if he takes another crack or two at it.  Mid-song, he ends up in like…a sonically vulnerable moment that really works perfectly, right before the thundering of drums threatens to kick everyone’s ass.  I’m not entirely sure he’s not playing a bit with the volume knob in the production as opposed to the performances…and I’d advise a little caution there if he is…that’s a fairly noticeable thing that is really tricky to get perfectly right in a way we wouldn’t hear it.  Anyhow.  It is what it is, at least for now.  Overall, it was the most intense parts of “Hit The Bricks” that turned out the best quality/performance-wise, and the more melodic parts I was looking for a bit more out of, with the exception of the mid-song breakdown, which I felt turned out perfectly.  Also, I have a lot of opinions, and if opinions really are like assholes and everyone’s got one, then I’m like, covered in them.  So that’s something to consider.  I don’t listen to music like most people do…take it with a grain of salt.

In terms of what it means to create a memorable experience, well…fuck…”Enter The Void” is definitely going to check that box for just about everyone that ever listens to it.  Has Matthew lost his mind here?  That’s probably a possibility…he’s gotta know that “Enter The Void” would be too much for about 98% of the population, so it’s doubtful he went into making this song without thinking that through and just not giving a shit about what anyone would think…and I can respect that.  I can probably respect that more than I can personally listen to it…I’m of the mind this one needs a whole lot of work under the hood if it’s gonna be for human consumption.  To borrow a phrase from the most audible part of the vocals in “Enter The Void” – “OH MY!”  That’s putting it mildly y’all…Relentless Pursuit is attempting to assault ya on a sensory level here, with what you’d have to assume are intentionally blown-out moments of sheer force, growling that has Matt heading back to his Cookie Monster vibe once again, and chaos coming atcha from the lefts to the rights that is like an audible earthquake level nine.  And yet, again, at the core of it all…if you’re really listening, there’s a melody that works incredibly well; it’s buried about six-feet deep on this particular track, but if that was the actual song, I’d be fully in favor of it.  As it stands, most people wouldn’t even hear it until this cut deconstructs itself towards the very end.

So here we go…lemme see if I can say what needs to be said here.  “In My Mind” is a really well-written song, and shows the heart of the melodic brilliance that Matt is capable of creating.  Vocally, it’s almost entirely wide of the mark, and simply needs the level of focus that he brings to his moments of raging intensity applied to his performance here, but you can hear in the spots that come out perfectly that he’s definitely got the chops to make it happen.  I’m a bit perplexed as to why he didn’t choose to DO that, given that we can hear he IS capable.  If there’s a suit & tie from a record label poking him in the ribs with a sharp stick saying this album needed to be out by yesterday, then perhaps I get it – but short of that, he’s clearly got an ear for sound, he knows what’s on-key and what’s not, and all he needed to make “In My Mind” work was more patience and time, because he has the skillset.  My gut tells me it’s a hardcore thing…something I actually run into all the time.  When the hardest of the hard decide to take their music in a softer direction, or more melodic direction, they can shy away from the moment, because they’re not sure what the reception/reaction is going to be to it – and in the end, that trepidation will cost any artist, especially those on the microphone.  Let me be crystal clear though – every single idea on “In My Mind” is among some of the very best you’ll find on Through Confusion though…all the way from the music to the microphone…there’s gold to be found here.  Now it’s just a matter of mining it out as best can be done, and in my opinion, Matt’s proven he’s got more in the tank than he reveals here in this performance.  You can blame me all ya like for feeling that way if you wanna, I’ve got broad shoulders for just such a circumstance…but I wouldn’t be calling it out if I didn’t hear the capability.  Dude’s got a great song at the heart of it all…and I think he’s just gotta believe in that a bit more than he currently is.  When he gets a moment or two right in the process of singing this song, we really feel it, we really notice it, and we really want a whole lot more of it…so trust your gut Matthew, you know when you’re on, you know when you’re off…get back in there, and give this track everything that ya got and you’ll be stoked about how it comes out.  The second-half of this track, is another genius idea that’s straight-up exceptional, and I love the explosion of melodic intensity he’s generating.  It still needs a lot of work like the rest does, but the strength of the ideas would genuinely warrant the efforts.

“In Over Your Head” probably has the blueprint forward within it somewhere.  In my personal opinion, this is the level of production he’s looking for, and it stands out in that regard compared to every other track on this album…so if he’s tweaking something in a bit of a different direction, sonically, this is what he wants to replicate.  As a song…I’ll be real with ya…it’s not my jam…but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be yours, and maybe it will be.  I find myself searching for something to hang onto with this track, but I can’t seem to find enough for me personally.  So in terms of execution, I salute the man…this is probably the most right I’ve heard things in terms of the mix so far to this point on the record, but a lot more of a polarizing result when it comes to the content itself.  I love the way that it starts…that much I can say with confidence…and right up to the vocals, I’m not just onboard, I’m freakin’ stoked about what I hear.  I’m not even saying that the vocals are off here – they’re not…Matt’s got everything about “In Over Your Head” dialed right into where he wants it to be, and performance-wise, I think it’s inarguably one of his best.  The dude digs his mayhem, menace, and chaos…that seems to be who Konradt is and what he wants to create with his music in Relentless Pursuit…and to that end, long may you run my brother.  I don’t need things to be the way that I personally want them to be or everything to suit my own personal taste – I just wanna know you’re putting everything you can into what you do, and it’s all good with me.

What can I say…we all like what we like, we all love what we love.  Matthew clearly loves a whole metric shit-ton of sound, and right on.  A track like “Self Ate The Devil” is gonna sound like the equivalent of listening to a construction crew demolishing a building to some folks out there, but for those that are just like Konradt, seeking out an enormous level of decibels thrust at them, then hey, right on, turn it up.  On a creative-level, there’s a lot here that actually reminds me of the versatility that…hmmm…what the heck was that band called again…one second, lemme jog my memory because I’m older than dirt…right – it was A Truth Called Nothing.  Don’t get it twisted, Relentless Pursuit is about a million times harder than that band ever was at their most intense, but in terms of switching things up, being a bit awkward in how jarring the disposition of each part could be, and creating an array of undeniable versatility whether it worked or not, the two bands bear a ton of similarities.  I think I’ve made my case as a melody-guy pretty clear already…so there’s no doubt that I get the most out of the way that “Self Ate The Devil” ends…but I’ll admit, I’m impressed with the sheer variety of scathing sound, the raw power of it all, and the way that Matthew chooses to structure his material.  There’s no doubt about the fact that it’s going to be a challenging sell to anyone outside of this…hmm…let’s just say genre, whatever you consider this music to be a part of…but like…the dude is seriously creative.  I really dig the part he’s got around the 1:40 mark of “Self Ate The Devil,” and I love how it unwinds itself to a full breakdown only twenty-five seconds later – this guy’s got real ideas, and ultimately, that’s gonna carry him a long way.  The last forty-seconds or so however, are straight-up genius.  I’d be the first to admit they probably wouldn’t make as much of an impact without all the storming of chaos that occurs prior, but good lord – that makes for one supremely satisfying ending after the extreme onslaught of sound we experienced.

Speaking of which, the end of Through Confusion is arguably some of the strongest material, even though it’s presented in a more delicate way.  “In A Different Place” is a perfect example of what I was talking about earlier on though – this is what it can sound like when Matthew commits to the softer side of his music.  I still think he’s got even more in the tank personally, but this track is so much closer to nailing it than what we heard earlier when he lightened-up the vibe on “In My Mind.”  Like…way, way closer – you get some of his best here.  Lyrically, this track also gives you some of the most clear words you’ll find on the record too…and while it’s still mired in a bit of desolate sadness, there’s real beauty in this theme to be found as well.  The piano’s great…I really think the melody is great, and that remains a strength throughout, though I did wonder if the very beginning might have caused an issue or two with some split-seconds in the timing & all.  I went back & forth a bit about whether or not the backing layers of vocals were entirely necessary…and perhaps the best I can say there is that I don’t think anything really hurt the song in that regard.  As to whether or not they strengthen the experience or they’re what the song is really calling for…I suppose I’ll let you be the judge & jury on that as you listen for yourselves.  Ultimately, I don’t wanna complain too much about anything to do with “In A Different Place” – I think the writing is strong, the performance is too…all-in-all, it’s probably my favorite on the record overall.  It’s the kind of track that I was referring to earlier on in this review, where I mentioned how Matthew might have to make some choices down the road with his music career…he does a lot of things really well, but if you’re asking me what he does best, I’d point right to “In A Different Place,” and say THAT.  It’s nice to have options though, and he’s got plenty.  I love the instrumental breakdown around the 2:30 mark in this song…and the finale was pretty satisfying…he might have gone a tad too far with the volume, but he’s got the right idea.  The potential in Relentless Pursuit is vast…I have no doubt that there’s still a lot of room for this project to grow, but that’s what you should truly want in a debut – if we got everything perfect in the first record, there’d be no incentive to make another.  Through Confusion is a great start for sure, and with the creativity that Konradt has, I’m looking forward to the next record…theoretically, this dude’s got authentic ideas and talent that could take him anywhere.

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