Hybrid outfit Audiotopsy have
come as a welcome surprise to the metal scene against what many, including
themselves, consider overwhelming odds. Vocalist Billy Keeton (Skrape),
guitarist Greg Tribbett (Mudvayne, Hellyeah), drummer Matt McDonough (Mudvayne) and bassist and relative newcomer Perry Stern said that it took the stars to align for this to
happen. Well, the stars have aligned and
Audiotopsy have arrived and brought with them some big plans, and a big debut
album, ‘Natural Causes’ due for release
on August 28th on Napalm
Records. Scan through the band’s social media outlets and you’ll see just
how excited they are to launch this album and their forthcoming tour. But will
everyone else be equally excited?
suggests “yes” as it storms in, releasing the pent-up energy within these
musicians in an explosion of sound. Immediately, the excitement and evident
chemistry between this foursome shines through.
The interplay between Tribbett and Stern gives the already powerful riffing some serious muscle, and it all
gels smoothly. But the horse seems to falter near the end of the race. A
recurrence throughout this record, this track included, are track fade outs,
which unfortunately drain it of some of its power just as you want it to drive
itself home. As a result, after a storming opening, the end comes as a little
anticlimatic, which is particularly evident on such a powerful opening track.
Know” follows and compliments the opener well, filling the gaps by choosing
slower tempos, heavier accenting and an aggressive, powerful vocal delivery
from Keeton. An interesting turn is
taken as further explorations begin in “L.Y.L.A.B”.
The aggression continues, but it’s blended well with calmer verses set beside
a ruthless core, both musically and lyrically, that erupts in the chorus. Unfortunately,
it’s just shy of an end pay-off when the track concludes with another fade out
as the song simply trails off. No similarity in “The Calling” as Tribbett follows
a series of ring-outs with a subtle, simple, shark attack-like riff into a
chorus without warning. Start to finish, “The
Calling” is a powerhouse with a pay-off-to-close, followed by a brief
interlude of calm water sounds in “H20”
before we return to a much less calm second act.
Immediately post-interlude, we are met with “Swim.” By no means a standout track, “Swim” still holds its own,
particularly lyrically. Keeton pulls no punches, and his raw emotion is complimented
by bassist Perry Stern who carries this track into a fade-out of
sorts that samples the interlude and sits comfortably as the final moments of
this track. Arguably the most powerful track on ‘Natural Causes’, “Disguise
Your Devil”, has a serious zero-bullshit
factor. A well thought-out arrangement, from the brutal verses to an unusual
and unexpected bridge reminiscent of A
Perfect Circle that gels perfectly, “Disguise Your Devil” ends with chants
closing on a brief feedback. There is a raw, refreshing honesty to this track
that bleeds through as Keeton continues to impress.
“Burn the Sky” struggles a little to
leave its mark, perhaps because it is sandwiched between two standout tracks, “Disguise
Your Devil” and “Distorted”. In
contrast “Distorted” does not struggle one bit, being easily the heaviest track
on the album. With “Darken the Rainbow”
we get the first serious glimpse of newcomer bassist Perry Stern. He weaves
moments of magic on the intro and bridge sections along with some solo moments.
This bass-heavy track will no doubt be a treat live and will shake any room it’s
performed in. Second to last, but technically the album closer, “Frozen Scars” is a long track you
don’t feel going by until you notice the running time afterwards. It’s a peculiar
album closer, but no more so than the outro track comprised of a mixture of
samples that sound (intentionally or not) like someone taking a leak while
passing through the Matrix. As a result, ‘Natural
Causes’ staggers home at the end, like the end of a great night where all
the best bits linger as memories from earlier on.
is a lot to take in on ‘Natural Causes’,
and it’s really, really good. Audiotopsy
may be well versed in their respected fields, but this is still their debut
album, and any debut comes with a learning curve. As debut albums goes, there
is an evident chemistry within the band that runs throughout these tracks, but
one wonders if their excitement might have rushed it to an early delivery? Random
fade outs, peculiar lulls and sci-fi toilet samples aside, there is an energy
that is infectious and an excitement that is inviting in this collection of
well written tracks deserving to see the light of day. Audiotopsy have said they are “the band that has been waiting to happen.”
Based on ‘Natural Causes’, it is
exciting to imagine what will happen next.