Is To Feel – Bending Halos, Dimming Lights
Release Date: November 23, 2004
Record Label: None
Is to Feel is a 4 piece rock band out of AZ. Their debut full length, “Bending Halos, Dimming Lights” is a spectacular release. Everybody has heard too much overproduced music over the past few years with the “screamo” explosion. Is to Feel is not like that at all. The record was tracked completely live. The liner notes read “No beat placement, auto tune or other studio trickery was used in the process of making this CD.” The end result is something honest, real, and quite impressive. Even though it’s tracked live, the production is still very good. While you can tell the music isn’t perfect (drums and bass may be off beat every once in a while), these mistakes don’t detract from the experience in the least. In fact, they add to it. Is to Feel’s sound is completely refreshing
Is to Feel’s sound is hard to pin down. The closest I could get would be a less experimental, more metal Glassjaw. Lead vocalist James McKenna has a smooth, strong voice and a brutally intense scream that will knock you flat. His vocal range is more that impressive, as he jumps from one note to completely new octaves with ease. His screams are deep, full, and passionate. From the opener “Slick Like Cum & Oil” to the ender “This Rabbit”, Is to Feel takes you on a musical journey that never repeats itself. Each song is a new invention of rock, complete with accented metal off beats, excellent drumming, and a unique voice. While the guitar workings remind me of The Bled at times, again – it is nearly impossible to compare this band or stick them into a genre.
The album progresses nicely, as fans of Glassjaw will love James’ vocal stylings on both “Moderato” and “Soundtrack to a Dying Dream”. The latter track is a slow song that showcases the talented drummer, who prevents the song from slipping into sleep by providing soft, accented fills with great work on the high hat. However, just when you think that the album is losing its energy, Is to Feel comes right back in your face with metal fueled “Some Gifts Last a Lifetime” and “Kissing Courtesies”. James’ scream is just…incredible. The rest of the album is insane and captivating. I never lost interest while listening to this album, not even once. There’s the perfect balance of intense screaming and smooth singing. “Kissing Courtesies” is flat out unbelievable. For no auto tune or excessive production, James’ natural vocal talent shines through. There’s very little wrong with this CD, but the harder songs tend to sound fairly similar and the guitar workings seem to repeat themselves towards the end of the CD. There were also no real places (on first few listens) that really hooked me into a song. I enjoyed every minute, but the melodies are often a little too obscure for my taste. Nonetheless, there is absolutely no reason why this band isn’t signed. Labels should pay attention – this album is one of the most honest and refreshing things you’ll hear all year. Fans of metal, hardcore, and just straight up rock should pick this CD up today.