There’s a famous quote by American astronomer, Carl Sagan, which goes “You have to know the past to understand the present.”. This astoundingly accurate proclamation can be undoubtedly applied to a multitude of situations both general and personal. This could quite well be a mantra for almost any individual’s life. One could argue that most of the reasons people act as they do or decide to take the paths they’ve chosen is due at least in part to something that has happened in their lives in the past. This moment or act has helped to mold and dictate what comes next, even years down the road. As previously stated though, this sentiment does not only refer to the goings on of a person’s life but could also translate to that of a specific happening in time or a group as a whole. This in a sense is exactly what Currents have decided to do with their upcoming EP, I Let the Devil In. In a question posted on Reddit, a user had asked lead vocalist Brian Wille why they decided to do an EP as opposed to a full-length album. In response (and to paraphrase) They had created so many songs over the years since The Place I Feel Safest, and they didn’t want them to simply be lost in the ether or release a deluxe edition of The Place I Feel Safest (like so many bands and labels seem to do these days as a mere cash grab – so thank you Currents/SharpTone!), as well as wanting to see a response from the fans as to what struck their fancy the most. To hear their thoughts on the varied sounding songs they had chosen for this EP. Each song is quite different from the last, hence the thematic colors chosen from the EP cover, and it would give the group an idea of what the fans lean more towards as opposed to what they do. So basically, the band had looked to songs from their past to understand what people like now, and from there they could decide their musical future. Quite the genius move that not only gives both the fans and the band a ‘choose your own story’ sort of set up, but also gives the world some incredible music from one of the greatest metalcore bands on the scene today.
“Into Despair” was first up in this mini smorgasbord of diddies, and what a sampling of barbarous heaviness and impactful emotion it was. The track starts out seemingly calm with dueling guitars played quite softly. One hitting singular notes, the other echoing chords in the background which came together to create an almost haunting omen of what was to come. This calm before the storm if you will swiftly kicks it up a couple hundred notches with a ballistic onslaught of blast beat drumming, a sludgy bassline, and almost symphonic sounding guitars that resonate up and down your spine. Brian Wille’s growls and screams are vicious and ferocious throughout, implying an anger and frustration unparalleled. We all try to do so much right in our lives. We try to live up to our own expectations as well as others. This cannot always be the case though, and when we fail to accomplish such daunting trials, we then assuredly feel distraught, sad, and angry. We try and try and most do our best to persevere, yet sometimes it feels impossible. We feel caged, furious, and poised to lash out and attack. We ‘let the devil in’ as Wille so eloquently puts it.
As stated at the beginning of this review; each track on this EP would be much different than all the others and “My Disguise” is shockingly different than its previous counterpart. Sonically this song as a much different approach. One of the many things Currents did so well on TPIFS was to create songs which not only had a sound that could instill a sense of sadness or longing within the listener but could also convey a message of positivity and hope all at once. This song absolutely does that in spades. Beginning quickly and suddenly the instruments all come in at once to put forth a heavy yet emotional delivery. They channel that sadness and dejection throughout the verse, yet once you reach the buildup between verse and chorus, you’re hit with a euphonious sense of hope. The song seems to speak to the fact that we all have so much to lose in our lives (obviously somewhat generalizing to apply the point to a broader horizon), so many hardships and tribulations we must face that at times it can almost feel like there’s zero light at the end of that tunnel. We simply put up a façade to mask our despondency in hopes no one would take notice. But as they say life isn’t all that bad, and sometimes we find a shred of promise, a fool’s paradise, and we start to shed our disguises. Whether that be through your own accord and the help of someone else, it is exactly what we should all hope for in the end. With a short but epic solo which leads into a heavily palm muted bridge and Wille screaming with bloody conviction ‘My curse is not my crutch’, we all can feel like that light at the end of tunnel truly does exist.
“Feel the Same” will perhaps be the largest shock to Currents fans both new and old. It is vastly the most different from almost any track the group has ever released prior to this EP, as well as it is quite the black sheep on this EP. But this is meant in the most fantastic way possible. Although this song is extremely different from any Currents bangers both past and present, it is a more than welcome addition to an already phenomenal repertoire and a hopeful sign of an even more varied musical future. This is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most docile song the group has ever created, yet it loses zero impact in the amount of emotion it oozes and atmospheric delivery only adding to the progressive elements this band already shined so well with. With both Chris Wiseman and Ryan Castaldi insane level of talent the intro is anything but boring or simple. Luscious layering of singular notes lead into a subtly heavy yet ambient level of delivery that sends the listener on an ethereal plane before coming back down to Earth for the more calm and harmonious verse. Rarely before has Wille sung in cleans for such an extended period, but assuredly this is not out of place nor is it something that will leaves fans hoping they had gone a heavier route. Dee Cronkite’s smooth and somber bass only helps to echo the beautiful harmonies ne’er heard before from Currents in such a manner. The chorus is a powerful force of zeal and ardor with the same beefy yet airy tones, and Wille singing to high heaven with an incredible amount of passion and vigor. Perhaps one of the most shining moments of the song though is directly after the first chorus. All instruments at once are delivered with an intense vehemence yet with an atmosphere that could raise the listener above the clouds. And while Wille brings back if only for a moment his signature screams, this isn’t to say why this is the most notable part of the track. It’s the softer parts throughout the rest of the song that make this one all that more impactful. Without those other attributes this part of the song would just simply be another heavy moment from a often heavy band.
“The Rope” is a track that possibly could have fit in quite well on TPIFS (although, if we’re being honest, not one song on this EP would have felt entirely out of place either). It maintains a bit more of the even heavy to soft ratio that some tracks held on TPIFS even more than some of the other songs on this release. Starting out heavy and fast with fervent pace of drumming and maniacal sounding guitars, Wille sounds at his almost angriest he’s ever been. Yet at a mere twenty-two seconds in, the ferocity is brought down to a clean and simple delivery. Lone notes over a rhythmic drumming which are only slightly ramped up with a singular distorted guitar. The chorus heavy without being overly aggressive. Wille screams of being different but bearing that fact in plain view. Almost as if he’s stating that there’s nothing wrong with not being like everyone else, although at times it can be a heavy burden to bear. The bridge showcases another one of Currents greatest assets which is an unfathomable level of talent when it comes to shredding both slow and faster paces. Whether it be done with a pick or finger plucking this band seems to have an uncanny ability at creating sounds which sound like they could only be done by a machine. The outro is ferocious conveyance of the most pure and utter rage leaving the listener rattled and relieved.
Random, yet rhythmic. Heavy, yet atmospheric. Ballistic, yet calculated. All phrases that could describe so much of Currents music yet fit so perfectly with the final track of I Let the Devil In, entitled “Forever Marked”. The beginning of the track is incredibly fast, yet you can tell it’s not simply to be heavy. Each note and drum beat were strategically placed to convey every single attribute and nuance meant to be conveyed. The verse is delivered with an intensity that will leave even the staunchest of headbangers more than pleased yet will also satiate the metalheads who’s tastes or more on the listen and take in side of things. This track could have also fit in quite well on TPIFS, and almost sound like it was perhaps a B-Side during the writing process of that album. The verse goes between a consistent almost punk song like rhythm and a sludgy, palm muted slow and thick delivery where Wille switches between a guttural, almost deathcore like growl to a glass shattering high scream. Once again Wille shows he has zero blockades when it comes to his range and abilities. ‘Forever marked! How could you all turn your backs as it all falls apart?!’ howls Wille before an assailment of gargantuan heaviness blasts through your speakers, leaving you in a mosh pit inducing rage. The song ends perfectly with a lone guitar swiftly finger plucking the strings and Wille singing the chorus and it slowly but surely fades to silence.
It is beyond clear that a group such as Currents do not simply choose to pander to the masses when creating their version of progressive/metalcore. They rarely if ever follow any sort of a cookie cutter template when deciding how both their music and lyrics will play out. Do they play heavy music like many others, and sing about subjects that have been sung about since probably the dawn of music that had any sort of lyrical content? Yup. But, they NEVER do it in a way which feels replicated or simply another carbon copy of so many before them. Much like I Let the Devil In, TPIFS also featured tracks that although they fit perfectly together, each could have been its own showcase in all that such a multifaceted group had to offer. True, on I Let the Devil In thr group has taken a few more (calculated) risks and put themselves out there a bit more to test not only themselves but the pallets of their fans, but the ends will justify the means. This EP will only leave the fans wanting…no, BEGGING for more. It may even present a challenge in deciphering between which tracks fans liked the most or the least and may just very well speak to the fact that this could have very well been extended with another five very different tracks to become a full LP. But the true fans will have no problem taking their time and listening attentively to even the subtlest nuances of each track to properly conduct a survey (if you will) of their collected thoughts on where the band should go next. I Let the Devil In is a perfect examination in the further collected talents of a group such as Currents and will forever be another staple in their incredible catalogue. Once again, this group has proved that metalcore is far from dead, and with this EP they’ve made its future even brighter.