Today I have reviewing Operating in Unsafe Mode by Figures, and goddamn, this album scratched a fantastic-90s-based itch for me. This album is Melbourne’s answer to the question of what if 90s-alternative-metal and my-forty-year-old-insatiable-appetite-for-Rage-Against-The-Machine opened an American BBQ restaurant together in the inner city. The answer is: it would be glorious! I sincerely enjoyed the highs and lows of this album. Catchy hooks. Some great sludge and the occasional guilty pleasure of a rap element. The songs have depth and a fine structure. The marriage between modern elements of alternative metal (the almost break-down elements of the guitars) with the older elements (explorations of vulnerability and loneliness and the communication of strong emotions). The production is phenomenal. Something we have started to take for granted here in Australia (probably due to the myriad of amazing producers available), but I recommend you really listen to these tracks. The drums sound thick, the bass tickles the lower end and the guitars absolutely sing. Tronson’s vocals are a force to be reckoned with. Being a little biased myself, I love the screams, but his cleans have the control and interest of Nik Barker from Twelve Foot Ninja. I thank Figures for giving us another reason as to why Australian metal is world-class and inspiring. Perfect for those people wanting to relive their earlier alternative roots, while still seeming relevant and somewhat hipster.
Release Year: 2020
Reviewed by Liam Frost-Camilleri