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Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Issues is the self-titled debut album by metalcore band, Issues. The album was released on February 18, 2014.
I sat on my opinion on this album for the longest. On first listen, it struck me as little shallow, but then again I was mostly interested in how it sounded in the background. Nothing really stuck out to me, sounding very monotonous – especially in terms of the instrumentation and Tyler Carter’s vocals (he likes to do runs… a lot).
However, once I started listening to my iPod in my car (which is always set on shuffle), whenever a song would pop on by Issues, I would do a double-take and think, “Wow, I don’t remember hearing this,” and it was a very, very good thing. The first song that did that to me is one of my favorites on the album, as I’m sure it is a lot of listeners’, “Disappear (Remember When).”
In an Artist Profile video for Rise Records to which Issues is signed, vocalist Tyler Carter shared a story of great importance to him about a girl he grew up with who had been tragically killed in an auto accident. I came across this video shortly after learning about him from Woe, is Me. I followed him on Twitter (same as I do with all members of bands I adore), and I remember the series of tweets he shared when writing “Disappear (Remember When).” I remember him breaking down and appreciating the support we as fans uplifted him with. So when I heard these lyrics “We’re coming up on December, but I’m not cold. My mind’s wide open like starry skies. I ask God questions and wonder why the hell that you’re not here. I wanna disappear with you now, but I’m a selfish broken heart, and now I’ve got this far,” I nearly pulled over my car to stop and listen to the rest. Because I remembered the importance of this song, yes, but also because it sounded damn good.
“Disappear (Remember When)” is the last song on the record. It makes sense that the best song of the entire record is placed there because Issues seems to be organized in a fashion of not-the-hottest to best songs. For me, the album doesn’t really begin until track 7, “Stingray Affliction,” which also happens to be the first single off the record. Track 2, “Mad at Myself,” makes a solid attempt at grabbing the attention of the listener, but the lyrics are so flat and seemingly throwaway that it fails on that front. Not that tracks 1 through 6 are bad, per se; they just don’t bring much of anything new or noteworthy to the record, the band or the genre.
However, midway through Issues, the songs gain vitality, emphasis and significance. The addition of female vocalist Nylo’s talents to track 10 “Tears on the Runway, Pt. 2” (where’s part one?) are reminiscent of Pierce the Veil’s “Hold on Till May.” There is no denying Tyler Carter’s vocals are absolutely beautiful and a pleasure to listen to, but the chorus in “Disappear (Remember When)” accents it perfectly. Also, screaming vocalist Michael Bohn (I always refer to him mentally as “t_rettes” haha) are phenomenal! I love it! I can understand every word he sings/screams/growls/whatever, a feat I revel in because it’s not often that occurs with screamed vocals.
Overall, it took me a while to warm up to Issues, and I am actually still somewhat surprised that “Hooligans” is not on the record, but on the whole, Issues has earned my loyalty with this self-titled effort. No doubt.