03. We are the Fearless
04. Inside Job
05. My Insanity
07. The Digital Release
08. They’re all Gerard Butler
10. Bandz a Make Her Dance (Cover)
Last year, the hype train on Protest the Hero‘s crowd-funded album was in full swing. As part of said campaign, at the highest tier, two guest vocal spots were offered for a contributor and his friend. Unflinching, Mark Iannelli and AJ Kolar jumped on the opportunity and they were right for doing so. Since then, they have appeared on the band’s album, Volition, and even got to perform live with Protest the Hero. Truly a dream come true and a great inroad to exposure.
However, such tantalizing dreams and milestones often come with a price; there’s a certain maturity and experience needed to handle such plateaus. Pterodactyl King, sporting the aforementioned singers on the microphone, are not quite there. Promise is definitely evident, but it sorely needs tempering.
When the band doubles down and sticks to their strengths is when Pyroclastic takes wing. Songs like ‘Parasites’ ,‘The Digital Release’ and ‘They’re All Gerard Butler’ are prime examples of this: contained metalcore tracks, they offer an excellent blend of Mark’s powerful high notes and Aj’s deep growls. The guitar work remains engaging, especially during the opening phrases of ‘The Digital Release’, with solid drop-tuned grooves and an engaging riff to maintain the heavier vocals. When Mark’s part kicks in the drums do a great job of increasing the tempo to keep up, spurring the guitar work into a shriller, fitting tone. Pterodactyl King resist the urge to over-complicate these songs and thus manage to conserve their immediate strength. ‘They’re All Gerard Butler’, bizarre name aside, is the strongest of the trio with an infectious middle part and accurate vocals.
Sadly, this cannot be said for the rest of the album. Pyroclastic reaches for the clouds and in the process loses its footing. The high vocals sound strained while the instruments attempt to keep up with the tonal changes. The result is scattered structure and lines that sound forced and disjointed. For some reason, AJ’s growls are delegated to the background, serving as nothing more than bridges leading to the breakdowns or accentuating the higher vocals. The desperate grasp for supposedly “required” innovation also leads to unneeded multiplicity of sounds. By themselves they are each executed well, like the moving opening to ‘Inside Job’. However, lacking true direction or essence, they quickly separate into disparate pieces, like bones scattered across a dig site.
Pterodactyl King are on a crossroads many aspiring bands find themselves on; the need to stand out and be unique is overpowering. However, not all debut albums can be singular. Some roads lead one on a long trek of establishing capabilities and exploring core sounds. That’s where Pterodactyl King are. Instead of complicating things, they should collapse on their basic sounds and make sure they execute them masterfully. Only then will they be able to make good on their ambitions and produce an album that is both grounded and innovative. Until then, the overbearing structural problems and misplaced aspirations will only hinder them, perhaps even leading to extinction.
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Pterodactyl King’s Pyroclastic gets…