Friday, March 2, 2012

Changes - Ep

The first time I saw Changes I didn't really know what to think. Sure, it's hardcore, and I can relate to that. At times this band seems to be going in a more blues influenced/Black Sabbath direction, while still maintaining their high gain sound. The vocals were a bit of a departure from what I'm used to. The only way I could explain them is a gruff, in-key shout, similar to bands like Corrosion of Conformity and Down.

The recording quality is very clean, making it easy to identify each instrument. I would probably bring the vocals down a little bit since they seem to be on top of the music at times. Just listening to the opening riff of "Lost at Sea - Castaway" you can get a good idea of how the mix gives room to each instrument.

Musically you can hear a good deal of skill and competence. The transitions from their slow "classic rock" sounding breakdowns seamlessly shuttle back into more upbeat hardcore without any issue. There's an attention to crafting the riffs with some great dual harmonies here, rather than flashy guitar solos. I appreciate that for this style of music. Some very tight drumming and great bass tone provide a nice foundation and echo the solid confidence of these songs.

Interestingly, after a few listens I noticed that the vocal style (even though I found it tough to get used to) lends itself to creating some catchy hooks that have a knack for getting stuck in your head. The choruses of songs like "Lost at Sea - Castaway" and "Blackblood" are easy to sing along to and the words are totally audible. The guitar riffs sort of take on the same effect as the voicing of the riffs is somewhat infectious.

Lyrically, Changes take on issues of war, religion and globalization. There's a balance of abstraction and straight forward writing here, which works well.

Check it out here.