Straight Line Stitch – The Word Made Flesh

Simple, somewhat elegant, straightforward. Six tracks, twenty minutes, metalcore. Pretty decent metalcore at that. Straight Line Stitch alters the melodic sensibility of modern metalcore just enough to keep things interesting. There’s little in the way of Gothenburg melodies, but something a bit more wild and organic with a sort of swirling quality, kind of like a Stephen O’Malley album layout in musical form. It reminds me of With Passion a bit, albeit less overly technical, but the sweep-picked melodies are certainly there, and add a great deal of depth to the music that would otherwise not be there.

Weirdly enough, the most aggressive sections of this EP are by far the weakest, which is probably what makes the last two tracks seem measurably more lackluster than the rest of the songs. The mellower, more melodic, clean vocal-driven portions rightfully form the climaxes of the songs. There are no breakdowns to fill that sort of space, nor any screechy emo stupidities. Just a more progressive bent overall. What musical dynamics are present are well used: the very occasional acoustic guitar, the odd time signatures, the soft/hard dynamics (yeah, overused, I know, but still). The harsh vocals are a bit mediocre to my ears, but the cleans are some of the best I’ve heard in metalcore; same with the riffs. The chug riffs are rather overused, but the more melodic ones are excellent and extremely memorable. Structurally, this isn’t the most complex music in the world, but it gets the job done.

Really, this is less impressive as a metalcore record and more as a prog piece. The more melodic, progressive portions are clearly where the band excels. I love the sort of delicately strong melodies they’re able to weave with electric guitar: they remind me of other artists that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s a nice quality, nearly psychedelic. There’s a sense of flowing motion to the lead guitar that’s very appealing, and it’s an extremely important layer to the music as a whole. When the instruments aren’t working in metalcore lock-step they’re at their best: the more open-ended sections really give the band the freedom to do what they really want with their music, and it’s a feature that should be emphasized as much as possible by the artists themselves.

Straight Line Stitch does more colorful, developed metalcore than most other bands, and I’d much rather listen to them than Shadows Fall and the like. There’s a spark of melodic creativity that I hope they nurture further, reducing the more ‘traditional’ metalcore parts and possibly even eschewing them entirely and going into full-blown prog territory. The band already plays very professionally and possesses fantastically clean production, so simply cementing their identity would be the next step towards metalcore greatness. While it’s not completely formed yet, ‘The Word Made Flesh’ offers just enough in the way of new ideas to get a recommendation from me. Good for metalcore fans and maybe others as well.

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~ by noktorn on August 22, 2007.

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