February 25, 2019 SETMEONFIRE – Lowtech (Album Review)
If the Deftones and Linkin Park had a child together who grew up on Pendulum’s infectious eclecticism, that child would be SETMEONFIRE. If this all sounds somewhat titillating, rejoice! Their full-length debut, Lowtech, arrives this Friday, March 1, 2019. You can some listening samples to whet your palate on Bandcamp and iTunes right now, and don’t forget to pre-order!
Self-proclaimed Sci-Fi Rockers, SETMEONFIRE hail from Sydney and Newcastle, Australia. Still very much in their infancy as a band, to date, their discography consists of three EPs — 2016’s Begin along with 2017’s Signs of Life and Drifter — as well as the 2018 single, “Challenger.” Working hard to build a name for themselves at home, the boys have shared stages with a plethora of fellow Aussies, such as In Hearts Wake, Pridelands, I, Valiance, The Sign of Four, A Breach of Silence, Lycanthrope, and more.
So, what does it all mean? Well, SETMEONFIRE is the brainchild of Vocalist/Songwriter Cameron Eyre (previously of Boris The Blade and The Storm Picturesque) and Multi-Instrumentalist Oliver Freeth, who include Guitarist Stuart Pearson, Bassist Alex Milovic, and Drummer Kieran Jackson in their touring/live line-up. Amalgamating a zillion influences — Linkin Park, Hans Zimmer, Pendulum, Deftones, Tech Nine, Meshuggah, and Aphex Twin are among those listed on their Facebook page — the band’s music ranges from nostalgic Alt Rock and Nu Metal stylings to modern Electronica, Drum & Bass, and even, gasp, Hip Hop. All of this is delivered with a cinematic sweep that lends itself beautifully towards their oft futuristic/sci-fi bent. Perhaps most importantly, the band remains free of any and all constraints, and promise never to conform to any genre standards.
Therefore, it should be no surprise that on the 11-song Lowtech, SETMEONFIRE go bold right from the start. The album begins with its namesake track, “Lowtech,” a bold rocker with notes of KoЯn embedded in its bass-heavy stomp. Sci-Fi synths open the drive into the futuristic, haywire bent of “Nerve” that, at times, sounds something like Orgy gyrating alongside Alice In Chains. A seductive bid for control, “Creature” taps into some BDSM themes as it presents a wall of alluring sound that pulsates around its steady beat. However, don’t allow your mind to get too dirty: the concept behind the song is actually social media.
Massive synth-driven atmospherics anchor the catchy angst of “Perfect Hell,” a relationship that is anything but perfect. Then, they go for a softer, whispery spell on the heavy electronica of “Terminal.” In a reverse psychological twist, “Compliance” opens to a pained howl and goes gritty in hopes of inspiring the weak-spirited to rise above their fear and defy; defy fear, defy controlling relationships, and never blindly accept any harmful situation.
Pulsating synths flutter into the meandering journey of “The Expedition,” an experimental amalgamation of throbbing bass and steady drum beats that provide an anchor for some truly interesting synth parts that lead to Eyre’s Hip Hop attack. They amp it up to hip-shaking and headbanging levels for the fully infectious “Deathbed,” which once again injects some Hip Hop stylings to stir the pot. Do you hear your deathbed calling?
“Patterns” swirls and throbs, creating an entrancing spell that offers candid observations on the gun violence epidemic in America — which is an interesting topic for an Australian band, but they knock it out of the ballpark with their intelligent insight. To soften the mood and allow some time for reflection, they move toward the ambient for the languid “Save Me.” Ultimately, they explode into the sludgy sway of “Rebirth,” featuring fellow Aussie Luke Holmes of Ocean Grove — it caps the album off on a high note.
Some debuts present a technically-proficient, entirely faceless new band to the world; a band that sound like a million other solidly forgettable bands. For SETMEONFIRE, Lowtech delivers an awesome, truly unique new amalgamated sound that is an exciting reminder of the past and a killer promise for the future. With notes of Nu Metal and 1990s Alternative, Electronica, Drum & Bass, and even Hip Hop, one would be hard-pressed to pigeonhole SETMEONFIRE. If you’re desperate for a comparison and haven’t been paying much attention to this review, let’s repeat: you can place them alongside some of their influences, eclectic greats such as Linkin Park, Deftones, and Pendulum.
Whatever the case and no matter how you choose to categorize the band, Lowtech establishes SETMEONFIRE as a viable new commodity, a stand-out offering in an over-saturated field of sameness. While the band have not fully realized their sonic potential just yet, once they harness and refine their power they will be truly unstoppable. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives SETMEONFIRE’s Lowtech 3.5 of 5 stars.