A Balance Between - Negative Space
Record Label: Broken English Records
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Musical dry spells seem to be somewhat common at the top of a new year. Perhaps this is actually due to a lack of album announcements and release dates, or (more likely) it’s the result of laziness and eggnog hangovers on our part, but luckily, A Balance Between has set out to shatter expectations and start 2014 on the a strong note. Throughout their debut EP Negative Space, the band vows to take post-hardcore back to its prime and channels classics such as Thrice’s Vheissu and Circa Survive’s Juturna while simultaneously cementing their own identity in the scene, and in the regard, Negative Space is a refreshing success.
From the crashing guitars that introduce opener “Your Own Hell”, we are given a sense of unbridled emotion we like to expect with debut releases. Paired with a fleshed out and fitting production, each instrument hits as hard as the others, topped with vocalist Jeremy Hernandez’s mid-range croon. This mix is hardly contained to tracks in the same vein, as even the slow-burner “Reaching Out” brims with equal bouts of musical force and calming optimism. While the lyrics may not always cross the line as something to write home about, they fit nicely within the context of the music and this itself is enough of a surprise to stand out amongst a community of peers that prefer to play it safe.
The band does a wonderful job of exhibiting a sense of variety and direction throughout the EP. Larger-than-life riffs dominate “Ocean”, just to lead into the sprawling six-minute title track. “Negative Space” attempts to slow things down, giving each instrument its time in the limelight before a haunting, stripped down interlude and jam session of an exit. If these songs are good, they merely provide support to Negative Space‘s standout centerpiece, “The Ruse”. “The Ruse” rivals several classic post-hardcore gems as a glimpse towards something better, a slice of progressive aggression we can hope might take part in whatever step comes next for A Balance Between.
While A Balance Between may have yet to reinvent the genre (as Letlive. very well may have last year), they certainly have done a hell of a job reinvigorating it. Negative Space spews the energy and creative highlights we’ve come to love from young bands, both building from their peers and doing what they do better than anyone in recent memory. At a time when we are generally recovering from the year previous and looking forward to later releases, A Balance Between have cannon-balled into the community in a risk vs. reward scenario that will almost certainly pay off as we can now keep a welcome and watchful eye over this talented group of newcomers.