The hardest albums to review aren’t those so catastrophically bad that you want to slap the band round the face with the CD. Nor are they the technical masterclasses, albums so full of intricacies that ten years later you still hear something new. No, the real fucking buggers are the ones that are just alright. Not too bad, not too good. What the hell are you meant to say about that?
If you haven’t guessed already, Chasing Safety’s second album, Nomad, is a big old pile of meh. It is to post-Killswitch metalcore what Stoke City are to football. Slap bang in the middle and unlikely to head in either direction anytime soon. Every now and then they will pull something good out the bag, but they are equally likely to produce a stinker.
So, how do you talk about that? How many breakdown heavy albums with clean choruses have we all heard over the last ten to fifteen years? You probably don’t need that described in depth. Truth be told, I don’t think I can remember a single hook or lyric from this album. Ask me to hum something, and I might get close to the right sound only because I would do some generic metalcore. I’m sure some people will like this album, but no one will love it (and if you do, drop me a message, and I’ll point you in the direction of some music that will blow your mind).
Which in all honesty is a good thing, for off the back of Killswitch there is a chance that this band would have taken off. The list of groups that rode that wave to the top is a cornucopia of mediocrity. But in 2017 I don’t think that flies anymore. Our scene and the music that makes up the bulk of it is improving, and a singer who can belt out a big clean chorus is no longer enough to make you huge. You need something special.
I feel like I’m being cruel to Chasing Safety, using their name to make a point. I don’t hate Nomad. I’ve enjoyed listening to it and maybe there is a good band in there. Tracks like ‘Devil’s Son’, ‘Run & Hide’ and ‘Captive’ all have a sparkle and sheen to them that screams big rock band but they made no impact on my life. When I’m done with it, I’ll be done with it forever, and when I look back over my list of new albums I listened to this year (yes, I have one of those), I’ll struggle to remember who they are. Sadly, this music doesn’t cut it anymore, and while that isn’t great for them, music fans across the world can rejoice at the end of mediocrity.