O V E R V I E W
With music, there’s typically three distinct methods or ideologies that come across during the creation process. First, and typically the most common one is playing it safe. What this means is that they create a sound that is tried and true, whether it’s a debut or deep into their own library, it’s something familiar and follows a safer structure. Secondly, you have the flip everything on its head end where artists scrap what potentially made them big in the first place for a sound wholly unexpected. This is a much riskier approach, especially for those who have established fanbases, but it’s definitely becoming a more common trend. Lastly though, you have the experimentation route. This route tries to take the best of everything, combining a swathe of ideas to create a sound that really can’t be pinpointed but creating something defining that eventually becomes more of safer route. Again, this is also becoming an increasing trend and one that German up-comers Time, The Valuator have taken to heart with their debut How Fleeting, How Fragile.
[tw-toggle title=”About Time, The Valuator”]
Genre: Progressive Metalcore | Post Hardcore
Label: Famined Records / Long Branch Records
Release: August 3, 2018
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F L O W / L O N G E V I T Y / O R I G I N A L I T Y
Usually it’s hard to find enough to say about an albums flow and longevity, especially for those that play it safer but that’s not the case with Time, The Valuator. Coming in at 12 tracks and just under an hour long, How Fleeting, How Fragile is a meaty album that has a lot going on within every single track (harkened on later within the instrumentation section) and that ultimately causes some pain in giving the album its true due diligence. This aspect also plays into the longevity piece of How Fleeting, How Fragile and while many greatly appreciate albums that have actual length to them with real substance, nearly every track is over 4 minutes or longer with an intense amount of musicianship going on, it makes for a much harder listen for the more casual music fan. Still, Time, The Valuator deserve the utmost respect for making the music they want and it shows off on the originality side as there aren’t many artists out there with a sound like this at all.
V O C A L S / I N S T R U M E N T A T I O N
While songwriting is the true driving force behind such a progressive album, the vocals and instrumentation need to be on point for the approach to succeed and in Time, The Valuator’s case, they are that and much more. On the vocal side itself, Phil Bayer displays an impressive range where the higher notes are hit with just the right pitch while still bringing a more subtle effect to the casual singing on top of adding brief lows that display a grittier edge to a relatively higher pitched delivery. He also shows off the ability for differing styles with brief rap sections and smoothly flows along with the intricate musicianship his fellow bandmates showcase. This is where How Fleeting, How Fragile differentiate from many artists within the progressive nature — they let the vocalist and instrumentation intertwine with one another, while each gets its moment in the spotlight throughout each track never trying to one up the other. Take for example the likes of “Cloud City” which opens up with a somber setpiece of haunting, echoing musicianship from both aspects that doesn’t try to overpower with fretwork or riffs and then switch “Heritage” which shows off piano chords and gives off a more jazz-y vibe to its overall sound.
C O M P O S I T I O N / P R O D U C T I O N
How Fleeting, How Fragile is an extremely well composed album if you look at it from a pure songwriting aspect. As mentioned earlier, it’s rather difficult to think of other artists that have such a unique sound on all fronts even though at times there will be vibes of Hands Like Houses and their ilk. The songs have so much to them and thanks to this strong composition, showcase their meaning on more than just the surface level of the lyrical content, but also with the actual music. “Starseeker” displays this through and through with string and choir arrangements as it builds into a soaring epic, delivering something that feels more like a movie soundtrack than a piece of the album. And at the same time, I feel like this is where Time, The Valuator struggle most in the composition as the album never feels quite cohesive enough. Perhaps that’s also thanks in part to the extremely strong production that is so crisp and clear that every single element of the album is heard, making it standout stronger than its sometimes muddied sounding peers.
F I N A L T H O U G H T S
As mentioned at the outset, musicians typically go one of three distinct methods and finding the one that works for them is part of the challenge. Not everyone strikes absolute gold the first time around, but that’s when you go back and revisit what was done well and improve on the flaws. It almost seems unfair to say that the flaws of How Fleeting, How Fragile are due to being too experimental, but the true problem lies within just how much actually is going on. True technical fans will be absolutely floored with what Time, The Valuator have created, but for the more casual listener this is an album that’s hard to digest at once and one that seems to come across better in parts. Still, the album is full of absolutely massive moments that showcase an incredibly talented group of musicians, they really just need a stronger, refined direction for whatever comes next.