Digital Renegade by I See Stars (Sumerian Records)
I See Stars has grown tremendously as a band since their first release for Sumerian Records 3-D shot them into the stratosphere. Constant touring, including a summer on Warped Tour, has made the band tighter than ever, securing them a rabid fan base all across the country. Amazingly, Digital Renegade is their third full-length effort, and it’s destined to appeal to fans who like their metalcore laced with a potent dose of electronics. The heaviness is definitely apparent, as well as the melodic interludes and super driving dance parts. Something for everyone, and yet there is a sense of cohesion and identity that renders Digital Renegade a tremendous standout well worth searching the galaxy for.
The aggression begins with Gnars Attacks, an intensive assault force that meshes into party mode with a wildly infectious dance groove. NZT48 continues the intensity, with infectious beats and dynamic vocal performances from both Zach Johnson and Devin Oliver weaving their collective magic. The title track Digital Renegade is a soaring anthem with Oliver singing triumphantly, “I’m seeing clear, I’m leaving fear, for the first time in my life.”
Endless Sky is highlighted by a guest vocal appearance from none other than Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria. Underneath Every Smile is a swirling piece of intensity that should heat up mosh pits everywhere. The growled vocals of Mystery Wall rival anything one may finds on European death metal recordings, once again courtesy of manic keyboardist Zach Johnson.
iBelieve has a compulsively danceable beat and top notch pop vocal inflections from Devin Oliver, clearly showing the range and versatility of the I See Stars repertoire. Summer Died In Connersville explodes with passion and vibrancy as well as kaleidoscopic vocal effects. A journey through the Electric Forest finds another wondrous guest appearance, this time from Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday, lending a persuasive co-vocal to the proceedings.
Digital Renegade comes to a dazzling finale with Filth Friends Unite, a tune of cosmic-like proportions that will surely cement I See Stars reputation as a musical force to be reckoned with.
Produced with a fiery precision by the always dependable Joey Sturgis (The Devil Wears Prada, We Came As Romans), Digital Renegade is an inspiring work that should please the longtime I See Stars fans as well as gain them a whole new set of converts.
The resourceful I See Stars lineup consists of Devin Oliver on clean vocals, Zach Johnson on unclean vocals and synthesizers, Brent Allen on lead guitar, Jimmy Gregerson on rhythm guitar, Jeff Valentine on bass, and Andrew Oliver on drums. Another big winner for this Warren, Michigan based collective!
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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