The unfortunate thing about the music industry is how dire it can be. Often times, musicians can spend thousands upon thousands of dollars working towards a goal of releasing material for the world to hear and it can fizzle out in what feels like a matter of seconds. Even if they see a small level of success, it doesn’t necessarily mean a continuation is in order. In 2015, metalcore outfit Outlands stormed upon the scene with their debut album Grave Mind and offered an approach to the genre that was not only refreshing, but beloved by many. Unfortunately, the consequences of the industry engulfed the band which led to members leaving and its abandonment, proving once again the struggle that this industry is. Not all was lost though, as vocalist James DeBerg continued writing and upon being presented with demos, inevitably wound up in a new band with the same desire for heavy, fun and listenable music that eventually wound up becoming known as Thousand Below. With success and admiration once again coming fast and furious, the band is now set to release their debut album The Love You Let Too Close, and let us tell you, it lives up to the lofty expectations bestowed upon it.
When Thousand Below released their first single, it was apparent there was something immediately special contained within the boundaries of what they set out to do. This harkens to taking an approach that revolves around making an album that is cohesive, but draws the desires of listeners to jam it, no matter the time of day. The first aspect that plays a huge part in this cohesion lives within the underlying message behind the album. Central to the overall theme of The Love You Let Too Close is DeBerg’s life spiraling after the tragic suicide of his best friend, along with the aftermath of losing him. This theme is much more honest and unapologetic than many artists tend to convey, especially on their debuts, as it’s a reality that unfortunately has struck far too many people in the world and one that many have a distaste for discussing. The result however, is an album that at its core is sad and disheartening, but at the same time therapeutic for not only the creators, but the listeners as well. It’s poignant throughout the lyrics as DeBerg opens up about the sinking feeling that it causes or how it lingers on in his mind and causes sleepless nights.
Sonically, Thousand Below have crafted a sound that doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone or anything and meticulously fits in with the rather dark tone found throughout the album. Instrumentally and vocally, The Love You Let Too Close beautifully sways back and forth between moments of heaviness and melody, finding a brilliant balance that helps enhance the underlying transcribed message. Cliché breakdowns are avoided, along with “heaviness for the sake of heavy” and in their place are refreshing, dynamic guitar leads and an energy that oozes through the speakers. Throughout the whole of The Love You Let Too Close, Thousand Below never find themselves stuck in a singular sound, which allows each song remain distinct, forging its own identity without affect the flow of the album. It’s this ability to think outside of the box that has led to a varied, catchy and fun album and the proof lies within the music as songs like “Sleepless” and “No Place Like You” delve into a more atmospheric, ambient realm while “Sinking Me”, “Tradition” and “The Love You Let Too Close” are incredible examples of how strong songwriting can elevate the traditional post hardcore sound to new heights.
Crafting a successful album in general is no easy task, but there’s something different about creating one in a scene that is full of people who pay much closer attention to music than the general masses. This has created a fanbase that is not only picky, but also very astute when it comes to the creation and sound of albums that fall within the genres. Since Thousand Below aren’t strangers to this, they collaborated with those who they felt would best push themselves and their sound forward and the end result is simply immaculate. Whether someone is a fan of the more classic stylings of the genre, desires something that’s littered with more emotion or simply wants a fresh take, The Love You Let Too Close ends up being a triumph in all facets and will undoubtedly heads.