02. Ice On Fire
04. Please The Senses
05. Figured You Forgot
06. Oh Teh Monies
07. Give It Time
I’ve been a fan of Numbers from the start. Around the time when Kyle Bishop started snowballing hype for his band, I saw his vocal cover for Periphery’s “Frak the Gods“. Naturally, I kept up to speed with Numbers and followed them closely. The hype continued to build and eventually, I was hard pressed to find anyone with a tolerance for tasteful electronic music and some daring clean vocals to not be eagerly awaiting a tangible release. If you were paying any attention to Numbers before this review, you would know they consistently release demos, studio recordings, self-made music videos and song ideas. In fact, I had listened to the majority of this EP before it was released. Though I have to say, Numbers really know how to wrap a package and deliver! Their self-titled EP slays!
At its core, this EP is a blast. There isn’t much it doesn’t achieve. Numbers maintain a certain ambiguity in the metalcore scene that one might say they transcend the genre. While Metalcore is the foundation of their sound, they delve into so many other genres that you can’t simply call it ‘metalcore‘. One minute there will be a raging 200 BPM section of blast beats, metalcore riffs and growls, it might transition smoothly into a circus music section or we might be treated to a jazz break without warning. You might conclude that this is progressive metalcore, but I don’t get that vibe. It sounds proggy on paper, but the music is much more seamless and cohesive. It makes classification very difficult. Though we can pinpoint the reason that Numbers maintain such an ambiguous stature; the keyboards.
The keyboards and electronic elements on this EP add to a display of musicianship and production that is well above average. Their role in Numbers is very interesting though. While Numbers are “progressive,” the keys make things very accessible and easy. It might just be the arpeggiated electronics we have heard a thousand times that pull this EP out of the realm of unexpected and unfamiliar. It makes things accessible and simple enough to be part of something a little more commercial, while bridging the gap between prog and metalcore bands like I See Stars or This Romantic Tragedy. Numbers and their electronic elements are symbiotic to each other making it easy for two opposing genres of music to meet a common ground.
Aaron Smith of 7 Horns 7 Eyes really did a great job on the production for this release. Whenever you add an electronic or symphonic element to the typical instrumentation of rock-based music, you have to be careful. There is a very fine line between crowded mix, and epic accompaniment. Naturally though, Numbers blur guitar and keys seamlessly while Aaron effortlessly tied it all together. The sound is full and the individual instruments are clear and purposeful. Justin Lambert’s incredibly fun and unique guitar tone also deserves a special mention. There isn’t a tone quite like it which I admire. At times, it can resemble Ian D of Billy Talent‘s dark synth-esque tone, although Justin’s tone is a little more organic. I can assure you that production Nazis won’t find much to complain about here.
Aside from having great production, our Seattle-based quartet also have a dynamic array of talent. While the group displays their technical prowess with finesse and grace, it’s hard not to notice that the vocals are a key focus here. Kyle Bishop has an extremely diverse voice and personally, it is my favourite vocal debut of the year thus far. With harsh vocals that would make Randy Blythe jealous and cleans akin to Spencer Sotelo of Periphery and Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco, you have an impressively diverse frontman. Kyle doesn’t stop there, however. Without hesitation or loss of flow, you can hear how his voice might fit in with an 80’s hair/glam metal band. Sometimes, you can even hear him stack up against the post-hardcore castrato like Craig Owens; except that Kyle actually has balls. The tonal and technical range of our newcomer is staggering. Consider his vocals a selling point if “proggy-electronic genre-mashing metalcore” doesn’t sell you already.
Numbers comes highly recommended. Even if a band merely dabbles in a foreign genre, it can easily take a turn for the worse. Especially when you are playing in “Warped Tour” territory. Numbers however, casts aside all notions that metalcore has become superficial and contrived by putting out one of the more substantial releases this year. Keep it up Numbers. You now have our attention.
Numbers – Numbers gets…