I think everybody has an album or two that took some time to grow on you. Your friends tell you that it is awesome and that you should give it a go, and it isn’t until the 5th or 6th listen that you can see what they’re talking about. In an oversaturated music market, I’m willing to bet that this sort of thing happens less and less. As our reluctance to make music a significant part of our identity continues to grow, one has to wonder what will happen to truly original metal that takes some time to burrow itself into our psyches.
Lowtech is the debut album from sci-fi band Setmeonfire and ‘interesting’ would be the word I would use to encapsulate this release. The overall feel of the music is something reminiscent of 90s industrial metal, but the digital element is married to the production that has become the hallmark of highly processed metal music of recent years. I think it is an interesting experiment, but it is yet to grow on me and I’m not sure that it will. The production level of the music is extremely high – one of the best I’ve heard in 2019 – and the breakdowns, while they are not a standout element of the release, are welcomed and would translate well live. There is some significant groove to some of the tracks, and interesting exploration into atmosphere and musical texture.
The album has been thought about and sweated over, and it’s good to see. Look, it’s a solid attempt to do something new and different, but I do feel it has a little way to go. There is a reliance on Eyre’s vocals to draw the listener in, and while the ‘sci-fi’ elements are strong, it still feels in its infancy and I feel that Setmeonfire could go either way – toward alternative rock or towards a Linkin Park sort of metal. But as it stands at the moment, it’s just not metal. There is far more related to alternative 90s rock then there is to modern (or even 90s) metal, save some djenty guitar sounds and a few screams in Rebirth. Maybe give it a number of listens to see if it burrows into your soul. Suitable for those that like Fear Factory for the keyboards.
Release Year: 2019
Reviewer: Liam Frost-Camilleri