A Balance Between – Negative Space
Record Label: Broken English
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Maybe it’s time for bands like this to come back. Last year we had I the Mighty’s triumphant debut full-length, Satori, and now we’ve got A Balance Between’s Negative Space EP. It’s a similar brand of (occasionally) post-hardcore inflected progressive/experimental rock to that which made people fall in love with Circa Survive or The Receiving End of Sirens.
It’s demonstrated pretty well in five minute opener “Your Own Hell,” with frenetic guitars crashing in after about twenty seconds of feedback. It slows down to let you breathe in before the chorus hits you in the gut. The second verse delivers an entirely different, perhaps Deftones-ish, vibe, and really shows off Jeremy Hernandez’s voice as he begs you to “give me a reason,” his voice booming. It’s an early high spot, and one not topped until fourth track “The Ruse.”
“The Ruse” is easily and undoubtedly the best song on Negative Space. Hernandez sounds a bit like Anthony Green at times on the track, which of course fits the band’s sound well. The refrain of this track is when everyone shines. Brian Grego and Mike Carroll deliver soaring riffs punctuated by bass drum rolls courtesy of Rob Cangialosi. It’s definitely the standout.
Which leads to the problem with the EP: how similar most of it sounds. Almost all the songs are extremely alike in structure and sound. Now, while a band can’t be faulted for their love of “crunchy” (for lack of a better word) riffs, fist-pumping choruses, and cymbal crashes, it wouldn’t be too much to ask for a little variety. The closing title track is probably the farthest removed from the rest of the EP, being the slowest and quietest track. Hernandez sounds akin to Dustin Kensrue during parts of the song’s radio-ready chorus, and it’s a fairly strong way to close out a fairly strong EP. Negative Space does have its faults, but A Balance Between are a young band, and they sure as hell know what they’re doing.