Red Equals Meltdown
review published: 2/2/2015
Red Equals Meltdown are a Massachusetts based band who play a style of metalcore that shares more in common with turn of the century acts like Unearth and Killswitch Engage than more recent bands. Beyond Saving, the band's debut EP, is an enjoyable listen showcasing their ability to write catchy songs.
The record opens with the brief 64 second track "Nothing From Nowhere." Not quite an intro track, not quite a fully developed song, its main melodic riff transitions itself nicely from harmonizing guitars right into a heavy chugging breakdown. It is a nice indication of what is to follow.
Throughout Beyond Saving, Red Equals Meltdown bounce between two-step grooves and half time breakdowns with a sense of fluidity. They never dwell on any particular section too long and keep the tempo flowing at a relatively quick pace. When they go into what seems like a rather bland breakdown midway through "Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained," they sprinkle in a little guitar lead to draw your interest back in.
While Red Equals Meltdown may lack the technicality of a band like Unearth, they more than make up for it in engaging song writing and catchy riffs. The guitar playing is more than adequate without ever sounding overly flashy. The beginning of "React" brings to mind a tamer Undying with its ultra-fast guitar leads harmonizing with each other. Elsewhere they definitely draw on the Killswitch Engage influence. "Medusa," the most melodic and perhaps best song on the album features an array of hooks anchored by impressive percussion. The drumming on Beyond Saving is definitely one of its strongest points.
Production wise, everything is nicely balanced in the mix. Both guitars are clearly distinguishable from each other and, shockingly for a metalcore record, the bass is audible with a nice chunky tone. The vocalist simply gets the job done and that's perfectly fine. He sticks mainly to a harsh screamed attack and never attempts any clean passages. That is a plus.
The album closes with "Rabble," its heaviest and longest song. Here the band finds themselves trading their melodic lead parts for chuggier riffs. Things finally draw to a conclusion on a big breakdown which, while entirely predictable, doesn't come off at all cheesy.
Bottom Line: Red Equals Meltdown impressed me with their penchant for writing simple, catchy, melodic metalcore that recalls a time when metalcore bands didn't sound so overly processed and formulaic. This is a fun listen.
Track Listing: 01. Nothing from Nowhere 02. Beyond Saving 03. Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained 04. React 05. Medusa 06. Rabble