October 1, 2019 Issues – Beautiful Oblivion (Album Review)
Dance, headbang, and sing like no one’s listening as you imbibe Beautiful Oblivion, the latest offering from Issues. Rise Records deliver the quartet’s suave new record on Friday, October 4th, 2019.
One of the most beloved bands on today’s scene, Issues formed in 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Blending a million different facets—from Metal to Top 40—the band has been consistently building an impressive name for themselves since the release of their 2012 EP, Black Diamonds, and their 2014 full-length, self-titled debut. In 2016, Headspace certainly did not hurt their cause and brought about tours with the likes of Bring Me the Horizon, I Prevail, Of Mice & Men, Beartooth, Ice Nine Kills, Attila, and many, many more.
With the 2018 departure of “Unclean” Vocalist Michael Bohn, Beautiful Oblivion marks a new chapter for the band—Vocalist Tyler Carter, Guitarist/Vocalist AJ Rebollo, Bassist Skyler Acord, and Drummer Josh Manuel. Produced by the Grammy Award-nominated Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Skillet), the band’s third full-length traverses 11 tracks that meld together everything from R&B to Pop, to Metal—and they do it with finesse.
Beautiful Oblivion opens to the beachy R&B of “Here’s to You,” catapulting into grinding choruses that juxtapose Carter’s soaring vocals with Acord’s sludgy, Metal bass licks. The result is a melancholic break-up song that explores a million facets of Issues’ musical personality, and much like the band who crafted the track, completely defies categorization. Next, Carter’s sultry falsetto anchors “Drink About It.” Funky pacing, electronic orchestration and groovy Rock-n-Roll couple together to create something that makes being cheated on sound like magic. (But it’s really not!)
“Find Forever” opens to some smokin’, bluesy guitar licks and then traverses toward the chapel with a Poplicious romp. Layering Pop, R&B, saxophone, and some hard rockin’ grooves, this is one glance at eternal love that gets joyously catchy. Then, they go darker and dig deeper, taking the gloves off for “Tapping Out,” a slamming dismissal of a toxic relationship that luxuriates in Rebollo’s vicious howls.
It’s Hip Hop, R&B, and funkalicious bass for “Without You,” a promise that we can’t be mind readers in our relationships. Continuing to explore the highs and lows of relationships, the cascading waterfalls of “Rain” offer some keen advice—if someone you care for sees the cup as always half-empty, you may have to walk away in order to embrace joy again.
This paves the way for the quartet to return to the grinding, heavier side of their personality for the heaven and hell of “Downfall” before more slamming bass anchors the self-doubt of “Second Best.” Prancing perfectly across the stage of your ears, the criminal attention-grabber “Get It Right” delights in old-school R&B and theatrical flare.
“Flexin” some Hip-Hop influences, they get sassy and show their sense of humor before they call for honesty with the bold infectiousness of “No Problem (Keep It Alive).” Meanwhile, piano ballad “Your Sake” makes heartfelt, emotional confessions in the name of sincerity, and winds the album slowly down to its grand finale. Ultimately, they opt to go out blazing with the vocal theatrics and sludgy rhythms of “Beautiful Oblivion,” a final reminder that this band are exceptional at what they do.
If the legendary Michael Jackson or the too-talented Justin Timberlake fronted a Metalcore band, that band would be Issues! Beautiful Oblivion is fraught with relationships that cross the spectrum from self-affirming to emotionally draining to completely toxic. Throughout these eleven reflections on the personal heavens and hells inherent in being human, Issues offer sharp insights into letting go—and they do it with a panache that is rarely seen in today’s music. Crossing genres fluidly, amalgamating everything they hear into a stew of vocal pizzazz, crunching riffs, and delicious rhythms, they are deliciously radio-ready but still angsty enough to rock. It’s hard not to appreciate a band who are truly doing something unique in an over-saturated field of lookalikes, and for this, Cryptic Rock give Issues’ Beautiful Oblivion 5 of 5 stars.