Given the fact that post-Meshuggah djent is still a relatively new genre (or at least a facet of progressive metal), there is an inevitable “djent rush” going on in the metal community. Multitudes of bands have emerged, hoping to latch onto the wave of success that early acts like Periphery, Vildjharta, and Tesseract created for themselves; And considering the fact that said bands immediately set such a high standard for the genre, any band venturing into this realm of music is certainly entering the scene under trial by fire. So would it be fair to say that the moment I heard the seven string guitars and strong Vildjharta vibe on Everything Is Terrible‘s debut album, Intensely Distressed and on the Verge of Mental Collapse, I had a somewhat preconceived notion that I was about to be listening to a bland, soulless, and forgettable carbon copy album. This isn’t necessarily the case, but I don’t think anyone attuned to the rise and fall of djent bands would blame me for it. What is important is how quickly EIT turned that notion on its head and left me ultimately pleased with the musical journey I had just been taken on.
Emerging onto the scene from Copenhagen, Denmark, Everything is Terrible released Intensely Distressed earlier this month on November 18th. Being a fall release is a big plus for the album. While the band’s name and album title might make it somewhat obvious, Intensely Distressed sets the same tone of melancholy and existential crisis that makes Vildhjarta such a great cold weather listen; Overall, making me – I believe – more receptive to the music.
Getting Into the Groove
The album opens up with the quick track “Nervewracker”, which first displays an impressive tandem effort between drum and bass (the first of many) before hitting the listener with djenty guitar licks and a deathcore influenced breakdown that helps build excitement and anticipation for the tracks to come. The mid to low range throaty screams that are present on the first track are notably solid and consistent through the entire album. There are no clean vocals to be found on Intensely Distressed. This is another win in my book since – with the exception of a few notable bands – many acts playing this particular brand of prog metal get themselves into trouble this way, ending up with a mess of cheesy and ill fitting choruses.
By the time the third track, “Forced Consent”, ends, you can get a clearer picture of where EIT draws influence from. The previously mentioned Vildhjarta connection is present throughout the album, however, the connection is relevant to their syncopated grooves and less so on technicality and time shifts, making this a more straight forward, heavily deathcore influenced release – similar to something that might come from Bermuda‘s discography.
Truly the hard hitting grooves are the shining star of Intensely Distressed, which are equally delivered by guitar, drums, and bass for maximum effect. It is honestly hard to sit still during the bouncy opening riff of the title track, “Intensely Distressed.” Another important strength of EIT seems to be their composition and song structure. Whether it is a mid song break or one of the two instrumental interludes, EIT often visits the atmospheric soundscapes required of djent bands, appropriately spacing them throughout the album to keep the music from going stale. However, some of the melodic sections themselves are a weakness as far as creativity is concerned. The song “Into Discomposure”, for instance, wanders furthest into the realm of “generic” with riffs that I feel I have heard many times before. Conversely though, the band knocks it out of the park on songs like “Resignation” with a balance of ambient leads and djent riffs that provide a very strong Auras connection.
While Everything is Terrible might not have left a completely unique footprint on the djent/progressive metal scene, they have put forth a commendable first effort and given themselves enough of an identity to keep from getting lost in new band purgatory. Intensely Distressed is an album that follows the same basic formula as many large and well received djent acts, and personally I am of the opinion that more of a good thing is never really a bad thing. EIT have written music that gives them room to grow and laid the groundwork to potentially release subsequent albums in the future that are great. This is a good start for a novice band, and I hope that they do continue to grow and search for a more unique identity, because I don’t know if solid grooves alone will be quite enough to carry them through a sophomore release. But, If you are a fan of any of the aforementioned acts there is no reason you won’t enjoy Intensely Distressed and on the Verge of Mental Collapse.
Notable Tracks: “Anodynic State”; “Directionless Flesh”; “Intensely Distressed and on the Verge of Mental Collapse”; “Resignation”.
FFO: Vildhjarta, Auras, Volumes, Bermuda