WORDS: Craig Hibbard
Maps is the debut EP of Chicago based outfit LOWER AUTOMATION. A trio of talent comprised of Guitarist/Vocalist – Derek Allen; Bassist – Brian Sutton; Drummer – Matt Walen.
The trio can definitely pack a punch, but it is the repetitive strike that tires quickly.
Ring is the opening track. It is a powerful start with all clientèle providing a deep metallic sound. Derek Allen brings his voice to the mix. An unvarying tone is all to be heard in his voice, though it is full of energy and confidence. Derek’s voice gels well with the instrumentation. Musically, it is difficult to define LOWER AUTOMATION‘s sound in the opening track. Hints of Punk, Rock and Mathcore, which blend together in seamless fashion. Ring does not stray off any path and remains consistent throughout.
Decorated follows suit and it is much of the same story; hard to define and repetitive. Bassist, Brian Sutton, delivers interesting bass lines through the course of the track and paints a distinct picture – individualism is key. As goes for Derek and Drummer, Matt Walen. Each has a defining energy that brings much needed life to the repetition. Decorated is a strong track, standing tall at the frontline which promotes the talents within LOWER AUTOMATION.
Break Room Curators is the third track, and at a running time of 1:47, it is over as quickly as it starts. Interesting in sound but severely lacking in variation; a common issue at this stage of the EP.
The Cartographer – the standout track of Maps. It is reminiscent of an early THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, without the speed and aggression. With guitar scales that hang back from the norm and time signatures that meld into the ever-changing time signatures of the drums. A collage of ownership. Each member taking command of their post with great definition and strength. While the tracks before were suffering from repetition, The Cartographer does not. It is clear that this track defines their sound. LOWER AUTOMATION‘s use of mathcore elements really shows the talent within each member. Portrait of energy and talent.
Scissor Lapses is the final track. Heavy bass lines and focused drum patterns. It is the longest track at 6:29. However, half of the track consists of waning distortion and various mechanical moans; an interesting way to close out the EP but lacking in creativity.
It isn’t a perfect start, but on the same token, it is far from bad. Maps is full of energy and enthusiasm. LOWER AUTOMATION work well as a band and the performances tell that. Sadly, there is repetition and a clear sight is LOWER AUTOMATION are yet to really define their sound. That leads towards the future. Strength’s are there to be worked on and if worked correctly, LOWER AUTOMATION will bring themselves to the limelight their talents clearly deserve.
Maps is set for release on April 1st via self release