ALBUM REVIEW: The Place I Feel Safest – Currents

After a couple of EPs to CURRENTS name, the Americans are ready to release their first full length album, The Place I Feel Safest. Blending their hardcore sound with some interesting elements from other genres, and a whole truckload of lyrical content, it’s set the bar for themselves pretty high.

A strong start with Apnea, with a thumping rhythm and relentless vocals growling potent lyrics. There’s a strong Hardcore feel in this, with beefed up drums and technical guitar work to keep things interesting. Good start, and it’s clear that this is going to be a bit of a ride for any fan of the genre. Tremor is equally hard on its breakdowns, it’s lyrical topics dear down on you like weight of the singers issues themselves incarnate. Interesting dynamic, where the drums become more upbeat, the guitar work allows that beat to carry the song, yet while things become more regimental in the rhythm section, the guitars really go to town. The reeling bends and the grating jabs of riff are great, really adding a twisted layer to the song.

Shifting into Night Terrors, this is in the same vein as those before, adding more instrumental effects using these musical tools to the best of their worth. It seems that this album is getting darker and darker the further in to it you progress. Clean vocals and a pause in the onslaught add a nice range to the bands very heavy style, showing an appreciation that less can sometimes mean more in Delusion takes the pace to one a little steadier, with some killer riffs and licks in there, and a stonking bass lines and drum work. By this point, it’s clear the momentum isn’t dying down, and the fun with the instrumentals is obvious. Similarly, the next track Withered is, once again, a demonstration of good writing skills, and a great use of mixing and production allow the song to really open up.

Dreamer takes a more measured approach to its intro, which is needed at this point in an album. There’s a lot of the usual tricks within the hardcore scene used within this album for sure. However, it’s a fresh take on the style as a whole, one that feels like it truly has a heart in the music, and the tracks. There’s perhaps some more echoes of the band’s death metal influences in here that keep it from getting stale, and the expressive guitar work can often feel quite progressive. One example of that, is Forget Me, which is almost like a thrash/prog take on hardcore. Very interesting stuff, it’s perhaps a little too out there in places to feel like a comprehensive style all on its own. However, it’s not for a lack of vision, and this could really be something if it’s an avenue they choose to explore more.

The Place I Feel Safest, the namesake of the album, takes a breath in its soundscape of guitars, and starts to feel more like a musical expression of the lyrics, rather than an accompaniment to the narrative. The band as a whole are at their best on this track- exuding emotions bittersweet. So, full of life, and yet a sense of loss and perhaps fear. Overall a great track. Silence takes a more streamline hardcore approach again, which after the interesting dynamics in others songs makes this feel a little less impressive by this point in the album. A lot of chugging, and patterns in both beat and guitar work you’ve heard many times.

Best Memory is more like it, just different in its overall rhythm to make you pay attention. Thankfully CURRENTS don’t often fall into the trap of regurgitating essentially the same song again and again like a lot of sub-par hardcore acts. CURRENTS have been playing together long enough to have a solid instrumental understanding of what they want to achieve.

Another Life is still a thudding beat of a track, with some very good guitar work going on. At the late stage we are at in the album, you’re going to be hard pressed to keep up with it- the energy here is as fresh as if it were the first track. I’m Not Waiting thankfully gives you just enough time to ponder the nice noodling of the guitar in the intro before the kicking again takes off. There’s very little else that you can say at this point on The Place I Feel Safest- if you haven’t understood what this band are about by now, then you aren’t going to get it. Shattered, our final track, is very much a technical track as with the rest of the album, and still a song that beats with as much conviction as any other on this record. While perhaps not the strongest track on the record, it serves as a brilliant end to a ball of nuclear energy that is backed into this album.

After a good few years gathering themselves, crafting a feel in their music and taking some hardcore roots and experimenting with death metal and even progressive sounds throughout, CURRENTS have conjured a solid album that bares no filler, and packs a hell of a punch.

Rating: 8/10

The Place I Feel Safest - Currents

The Place I Feel Safest is set for release on June 16th via SharpTone Records.

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