15 Reasons

Album Title: 
The Art Of Commitment
Release Date: 
Friday, March 21, 2014
Review Type: 

I have a very vivid memory of a certain period in Spring 2011 when, during the then more frequent updates of the website we performed at his place, our editor-in-chief would put the second full-length of this Brussels based Nu-Metal trio (then a quartet) into the cd-player, without telling me in advance that he'd gotten a deal with the band which solicited the erection of ConcreteWeb Records.

When he asked for my thoughts afterward, he must've been somewhat disappointed when I told him how I could appreciated that it was a kind of music which was exactly up his alley, but didn't do much for me as, although it clearly displayed influences from modern Rock/ Metal acts like Stone Sour and Godsmack with undeniable roots in Metallica and Alice In Chains, it was all a bit too commercially geared for me. In the weeks that followed, the Chief put the album on again and again, perhaps with a thought of changing my feelings toward a more positive one, but eventually we agreed to have that it would be weird to review a product of our own, and so we left the critical appraisal of the album to people not connected to Concrete Web. Which means that I now have no previous album review to direct you to for the history of the band...and so that task now befalls myself.

The band was founded back in 2002, and with a line-up already comprising guitarist Valéry Granson and drummer Fred Werner released its debut full-length Equilibrium through Belgian label Watt's On Records in May 2007 to moderate success. Two years later, the quartet were back in the studio to record the band's sophomore album, and in fact had most of the material already recorded, when out of a blue sky the singer and the bassist decide to throw in the towel. Rather than release the album as such, the remaining core members of the band decided to look out for new members first. These were found in bassist Vincent Delobel and singer Gunther Utterhoeven, and to make the album sound more closely to what the and now did in the rehearsal room and on the Belgian stages, it was decided to have the latter re-record the lead vocal parts. This was done at the Jonathas Studio, owned by former Channel Zero guitarist Xavier Carion. Now, I am quite uncertain of the chronology of things, so I don't know at which point our editor-in-chief came into the equation, but I'm guessing that he first saw the band live a couple of times, and he may even been the one suggesting doin' the vocal re-recordings at Carion's studio at a hint from one of the Channel Zero members (note, that The Chief was already co-manager of CZ at that time).

Second Coming (eventually released physically in August 2011 after a digital release in March) was a reflective title for the album, relating to all the problems the band had been through in those years...but the core members would have to suffer some more problems yet, as the singer and the bassist again left the limelight. But it would all be to far better avail, as in the final line-up change, the guys found Nicholas Brynin, whom is not only a tower-of-power singer, but also handles the bass quite admirably! With the new man firmly in place since 2012, the band played some of the more prestigious venues (Orangerie Botanique, VK,  and a most memorable support slot for Channel Zero at Biebob) and festivals (Durbuy Rock Festival, Fête De La Musique, Francofolies) in Belgium, and also got a chance to play at the massive Sziget Festival in Budapest (where the guys performed on the same stage as Korn, Placebo and The Killers to name but a few).

Going on the first paragraph of this here review, you might imagine that it was with some doubts that I accepted the task of appraising 15 Reasons' latest offering, but those left me soon enough after I'd put the album in the cd-player. Obviously, the induction of Nicholas into the fold has brought about a slight change in sound. Not that the guys don't stand by their roots anymore, mind you...quite on the contrary...but it seems like playing as a trio has brought about a refining of things, with the guitarist's lead and solo parts coming through far better than on previous works. Also, the new man is positively the best bass player ever to be in their midst, a fact one can not only hear very well in the album's title track and closing instrumental, but also at plenty of other instances on the album. Somewhere in the info I gathered, the guitarist comments on the new singer being one whom puts a new meaning to the term “Power vocalist”, and darn, if that ain't the absolute truth! Half of the songs on the album were road-tested, and eventually recorded at different locations and mixed by François Dediste at Ear We Go Studio (where also part of the recordings took place).

For your portion of music off the new album, you'll have to make due, at least for the moment, with  the radio edit for album opener “Damage Done” [which, alongside an EMB version (EBM being the abbreviation of Electric Body Music) of that same track, and a radio edit of the album's track “The End Of Everything” is also found on the limited edition digipak version of the album], a somewhat slower track, and obviously not enough to showcase the band's versatility. But the album is released in just a few days (as seen from the point in time when this is written), so with distribution being handled by Graviton Music Services, you should be able to go try and have a listening session at your local record store. Alternately, you should be able to check out the album through Spotify of your Google Player pretty soon!

My personal end conclusion: great progress, and I guess people into the more creative Nu-Metal (hum...can we still actually use that terminology here, or can we safely state that the band has outgrown that somewhat simple categorisation for a higher level of musicianship?) should have a field day discovering this. Absolute favorite track of mine is the instrumental, but of course that is a very personal thing!