Atlanta, Georgia‘s experinauts Irreversible have a marked hardcore influence that comes up not directly in the music, but more in the overall pacing and intensity of their heavier moments. On their 2007 full-length debut, Sins (HERO Entertainment), they meld Isis-style structures with thickened Torche tones and tread a mostly-instrumental path through thoughtful songwriting with some heavy rock flourishes and a whole lot of consideration put to atmosphere. Making use of three vocalists — guitarist Jackob Franklin, electronic specialist Billy Henis and guitarist JJ Hodge (the lineup is rounded out by bassist CJ Ridlings and drummer Zach Richards) — and numerous guest singers and screamers, Irreversible are able to add a diversity to their sound and avoid the post-metal trap of having a record that sounds really cool but is also boring as hell.
Sins opens with “Tambora,” one of four longer pieces spread out over the course of the album’s 64 minutes. With mood and flow as focal points, Irreversible offers three shorter tracks — including album high-point “Blackness that Spread” — before the 10:47 title track, offering a range that goes against what’s typical of their region. It’s nice to hear a band come out of Georgia not aping Mastodon, Zoroaster, Kylesa or American Heritage, and while Irreversible‘s sound still fits easily into the realm of modern (post-) metal, their liberal use of electronics and well-done shifts in direction are enough to stand them out among the others with similar musical goals.
Not only that, but the defining atmosphere on Sins is much darker and feels less bent on presenting itself with an air of intellectualism than all the Isis and Cult of Luna followers. Irreversible aren’t afraid to throw an acoustic break into “Cocytus,” near-emo clean vocals into “Iblis” or a host of experimental noises into later cut “Liberation through Hearing in the Intermediate State.” By no means are Irreversible rewriting the book of what metal is and what it can do, but their encompassing, angry drone is enough to latch onto gritty, jaded attention spans and offer a few surprises to even the weariest of ears.
Quiet moments like “Strike Your Heel” and “Heavy Bones” and unsettling, uneasy passages like those in the aforementioned “Liberation” serve not only to break things up, but to contrast the outright heaviness of parts like the thunderous pounding intro to closer “Synaesthesia.” Irreversible aren’t the first to put heavy and not-heavy next to each other and see what happens, but their youth and energetic delivery gives even the breakdown riff on which the album ends (before the requisite secret track, anyway) an air of freshness that at least partially undercuts any accusations of unoriginality. Sins is a pissed off record, but it might be the kick in the ass post-metal needs so desperately.
Tags: Atlanta, HERO Entertainment, Irreversible, post-metal, Unsigned bands