Currents prove that they are the standard for quality modern metalcore with The Death We Seek.

Release date: May 5, 2023 | SharpTone Records | Facebook | Band Website | Purchase/Stream

While most bands/artists in the metalcore scene create small splashes slowly increasing in size with each successive release, Connecticut’s Currents are a rare exception in the way that their releases are like a hulking meteor slamming into the ocean of hype. With 2017’s The Place I Feel Safest, Currents cemented their place towards the top of the metalcore food chain in one fell swoop, and it is clear that they have nothing but pure ambition in their attempt to perfect their craft. Despite the slightly less compelling The Way It Ends, their newest effort, The Death We Seek, shows them bounce back in the right direction that is one step closer to achieving perfect balance between unrelenting technicality and musical ease of access; an incredibly fine line that remains to be found in the genre as a whole.

While the sound heard on The Place I Feel Safest is as instrumentally satisfying as can be when it comes to metalcore (did I also mention brutal?), for some listeners, it is an exhaustingly long album that feels homogeneous in how unrelenting and all over the place it is. On their successive EP and full-length, it shows the band trim a lot of that ‘fat’ in favor of a more digestible sound that focuses more on catchy choruses and tighter songwriting with an elevated production value as icing on the cake. As a result, the Currents fanbase has been split in two; those that froth at the mouth at any mention of TPIFS or those that worship post-TPIFS material instead, either way for the very reasons I just mentioned.

At this point more often than not, you see bands eventually drift towards musical accessibility (something I understand, bands have bills to pay too!), which usually but not always, comes at the cost of the inherent quality of the music. In the rare case of The Death We Seek, it is a pleasant surprise as Currents fully commit to the very features that each divided sub-fanbases separately adore about this band. While it was partially clear that this was the intention on The Way It Ends, it just wasn’t as memorable as the instrumentals felt hugely lacking due to the overemphasis of chugs that momentarily had the band sounding unrecognizable from the countless sea of metalcore bands. Fortunately, The Death We Seek mostly reconciles that.

Despite a lot of the songs on this new record still relying on those thick chugs, as made obvious the very instant this record kicks off with the title track or on “So Alone” for example, there are thankfully so many juicy instrumental flourishes masterfully sprinkled throughout these tracks to give it that much needed zest which was lacking beforehand. A lot more care and attention are paid to not just the pummeling instrumentals, but also the subtle electronic effects that linger in the background at any given moment. Take “Living In Tragedy” for instance, where the bouncy synths that harmonize with the main riff pop out at precisely calculated times for a delicate yet sharply contrasting sonic effect. Couple this with yet another upgrade in overall production quality and you’re in for a hell of a fun time… Or a sad time if you take a deep dive into the lyrical content.

Throughout The Death We Seek, there are several choruses where they feel a touch forced and inorganic, such as that on “Gone Astray” which is made up of those flat, shout-y vocals that immediately derail any excitement I may have had for the track. Meanwhile the chorus on “Beyond This Road” sounds like one that I’ve heard a million times before. Choruses are where I feel Currents are the weakest at writing as they all sound very similar to one another, yet with each release they are visibly (or rather audibly) improving for sure. Those small qualms set aside, the vocal prowess that Brian Wille displays here shows him continuing to push beyond what he’s ever done before. Notably regarding his harsh vocals, it couldn’t be any clearer that he challenges himself in every which way; “Living In Tragedy” alone is all you need to hear to be sure of that.

The Death We Seek shows Currents successfully appeasing both sides of the aisle in a much more captivating package as was attempted on The Way It Ends. While the record consists of tracks that are mostly homogeneous compared to one another, the overall execution of everything attempted here is as fine as can be. While many bands have tried with highly variable amounts of objective success, Currents are one of the few that are capable of crafting a modern metalcore sound that is unrelenting in every which way whilst still being incredibly accessible. Currents are a band that aim to up the ante with each release and learn from their mistakes along the way, which is something I truly admire.

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