Sunday, February 11, 2018

Singles Roundup: Stryper, APC, Dream State, & Light The Torch

With February and March looking to be filled with new releases, singles have been pouring out at a good clip. Before some of these records come out, and because I might not get around to covering them all, let's take a look at which songs are and aren't moving the needle in the right direction.

Stryper - Take It To The Cross

Stryper has had a weird middle age crisis. While they have been making solid records, they are doing so under the guise of trying to prove they are a HEAVY heavy metal band. They aren't, and it leads to ridiculous things like this new single. It starts out well enough with some solid riffs, but all we have to talk about it that chorus, that wretched, awful, horrible chorus. Michael Sweet shrieks in his worst high-pitch vocals, repeating the same line again and again, sounding like a toddler who didn't get his way in daycare. It's embarrassing, and possibly the worst musical moment I've heard this year so far.

A Perfect Circle - TalkTalk

I don't get this band anymore. It seems like for as long as I can remember, despite being led by a talented guitar player, A Perfect Circle's music is nothing but floating atmosphere and non-sensical vocal wandering. That is true of this latest single from their upcoming return. It's pleasant, but never goes anywhere, and never builds to anything more than background noise. Maynard phones in his performance, and the whole thing sounds like a band that is only making music because there still isn't anything for Tool to do.

Dream State - In This Hell

Here's a young band that is moving in the right direction. Their blend of modern metal is much appreciated here, on what I think is their best song yet. Solid riffs and plenty of heavy attitude give way to a chorus that hits just the right amount of melody. There's something oddly familiar about the hook that I can't put my finger on, but it still works. This is a nice effort from a band that's still growing into themselves. Well done.

Light The Torch - Die Alone

Let's cap this off with the best we have this time out. I have always been on Team Howard when it comes to Killswitch Engage. I have also always staunchly defended their 2009 self-titled album. So it's no wonder I find myself loving this new song from Howard's band's new name, since it brings that album to mind so clearly. Yes, it follows the formula, but why mess with what works? Howard sounds fantastic, and when he focuses on melody in his writing, the results are fantastic. This song would have fit right in on that Killswitch record, and while that means a lot of people will complain it isn't heavy enough, it means I am going to eat it up.

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