Massachusetts Energy is a band that showed great promise with the 2007 EP Punch the Clock. The bands fusion of the classic punk sounds of The Misfits and Ramones with that of more modern punk and hardcore outfits like A.F.I. and Ignite brought them a lot of attention. But with that initial success came high expectations that would be tough to meet, and unfortunately the bands debut full-length falls short.
Invasions of the Mind begins with the build of the intro Invasions and leaps into Hunter Red. The three-minute track boasts the soaring harmonies of vocalist Jason Tankerley while the band offers a backdrop of melodic hardcore; the punk influences in the songwriting are just as evident as the hardcore ones, complete with the whoa factor. In the end the song is a bit bland and forced, coming off as an A.F.I. b-side that just never quite felt complete.
The Silence turns the corner though. With it, Energy brings a more urgent sound, something that the former song lacked. Heaven is a thirty-second cut - I cant even call it a blast as it lacks any punch whatsoever - that honestly did nothing for me. But again the band rises from the depths with 400 - I really dig the ambient moments in the latter portion of the song. And that pretty much sums up how I feel about Invasions of the Mind: lots of ups and downs. And while there are good moments, it is the lacking moments that really bring the albums higher moments down.
One other major point of discussion is that of the vocals of Tankerley. He demonstrates a solid range as he moves from soaring harmonies and vocal melodies reminiscent of Ignites Zoli Teglas to more coarse yells associated with the norm of hardcore vocalists. But the vocals are where things really just reach beyond words penned. Its completely ridiculous in how there is a lack of passion within the voice. Its as though the words are just being sung to be sung. And the production is equally as flawed in how over-produced they sound. There are plenty of punk and hardcore vocalists with less than desirable tones in their vocals, but they dont hide them behind autotune no matter how awkward they might sound. There was a time when bands didnt have Pro Tools and this is the perfect example as to why itd be nice to go back to those times.
One major plus side to this release is the artwork. Bill Hauser did a magnificent job with his illustrations. Its just a shame the intensity of his work isnt matched by the music.
Its tough to write a review when a band has shown great promise only to disappoint. But thats what has happened here with Energy. The music is far too bland and the production is too polished. I can see where the appeal of Energy will be for new listeners but I just cant help be feel let down. Perhaps the live show picks up the slack where the recording is lacking; hopefully that is the case.
4.5 / 10
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