Indirections - Clockworks
Record Label: Invogue Records
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Clockworks has 10 tracks and is 40 minutes long. The album artwork is relatively uninspired, featuring gray and darker gray as a color scheme. Album opener Clockworks is the standout track of the album, beginning with atmospheric clock chimes, wind-like backdrops, and a muted beat pulsing quietly. A nasty guitar riff begins the song alongside the beat, giving an aggressive start to the album. Suddenly Daniels’ clear, deep growls enter the mix, “Let me out of this reality, ‘cause I keep falling under..” and the full band drops in with metalcore bends, chugging, and powerfully compressed drumming. Clockworks boasts a strong clean vocal section from Daniels’, as he sings, “Oh what is left, when I can’t see anymore? I’m sinking..” The first track is similar to "Dead Legacy" in its ferocity and power.
The second track, "Enemies" opens with a powerful chugging onslaught from the band and Daniels’ aggressive screams. The track manages to evolve into a melodic chorus, but something goes off topic as the band returns to chugging as Daniels’ roars “Who was I to say I don’t need anyone? Who am I to say I can do this on my own?” The song gains direction as an expressive, delayed guitar solo enters the mix towards the end.
The third track "Defiance" continues on in the same patterns, and Daniels’ clean singing, “All you want to do is watch me burn like fire,” becomes the standout part of the song, as the track’s chugging portions are nearly identical to the first two songs. "Defiance" becomes memorable for one thing, though – Daniels’ dropping of the N-word when the band briefly stops playing, then continues. Track four, Surface, is three and a half minutes of chugging and screaming, without any memorable moments. Even when Daniels’ sings passionately, “I’ll be the one to leave you behind, I won’t be listening,” the band’s songwriting seems to fall into familiar patterns, with little in the way of originality or even attempts at experimentation form their formulaic chugging.
The fifth track, "Reflections," opens with a simple piano line behind more chugging and blast beats. At this point, I’m beginning to get tired of the album’s never ending homogeneity. Even the programming and electronic stutters manage to sound boring, and that just makes me sad.
Moving on, the sixth track "Breathless" manages to blend into the rest of the album as well, filled with screaming and metalcore string bending. The clean chorus hints at Daniels’ true talent, but again it feels like he was given a structure to place vocals over, and his lyrics seem robotic and vague, “Why must you watch me crawl? All you want to do is weigh me down like an anchor.” Track seven also has a name that is a plural noun – "Secrets!" This track begins with Daniels’ deep growls and is another four minutes of detuned pummeling and splash cymbals. "Secrets" displays a brief moment of musical hope, as bright bells and distant effects take the stage in an interlude like feel for about 10 seconds, but these are dashed because the band apparently thought more open chord chugging would be better than any progression.
By the time track eight, Throne, begins, I’m just praying for the end. I’ve got a headache in full swing and the chugs aren’t helping. The message is very clear to me – fans of metalcore with a sense of dynamics will not be pleased. Throne features more chugging and growling. At this point, even the clean vocals blend into the mix.
Track nine, "Illumination" features a cringe-worthy chorus from Daniels’, “We are the new generation,” and some orchestral background to the metalcore. The final track, "Sleepless," gives some hope for the album as the tempo is slowed down, and Daniels’ croons alongside pianos, guitar chords, and a heavy drumkit beat. The album ends with a pretty, yet simple, piano melody. "Sleepless" is the second best track on the album for its attempt at breaking from the formulaic mold InDirections has boxed themselves into.
In its entirety, Clockworks isn’t great. There is little lyrical depth on this album, and the music is generic. I think that the songwriting may have been rushed, or the band’s loss of bassist Nick McDaniel may have affected the sound more than I thought it would. The songs are a homogenous mix of chugs and screaming. Clockworks does not set Indirections apart from their counterparts in the current scene, sadly, due to a lack of uniqueness. The album seems to blur or cover up the best aspects of Indirections – Daniels’ clean vocals are overpowered by a never-ending onslaught of chugging, leaving no room for clarity or emotionally moving songwriting. But perhaps the worst part of Clockworks is the lack of emotion; Daniels’ lyrics do not give authentic depth to himself as a character, and the band’s music does not strike as anything but robotic or scheduled.