Album Mind Games
Year Released: 13 January 2015
Label Rise Records Genre Post-Hardcore | EDM
Honestly, it is very rare for a metalcore album to catch my attention. Too often the overproduced and stylistically complex mixing turns me off immediately, but sometimes the music enthralls me into loving it like a guilty pressure. Usually, this involves a vocalist who has a higher range than his peers, giving him the vocal seduction required for entrance into a modern boy-band. What I’m describing is the formula that Palisades have decided to use in their newest album, Mind Games.
It’s a pretty standard formula too. Predictable breakdowns, synthesizers filling the empty space that the guitars or drums do not fill, hip-hop grooves lightly forcing you to grind on the nearest girl next to you, I mean, don’t try that at home. Regardless, opening track “Players Haters’ Ball” sells you the main ingredients that this album will force upon you for the next 37 minutes after hitting play. Everyone involved plays their respected instrument well, showing an incredible amount of chemistry for an album that jumps around genres and movements as often as Mind Games does.
The album also fuses dance-elements with heavier instrumentals. The title track, “Mind Games,” sounds like a Fall Out Boy dance anthem with more chugs consciously moving an actual mosh pit rather than a crowd of screaming fan girls. Hell, the main breakdown of the song is like Approaching Nirvana decided to kick out the band and release a “phat” beat in the middle of a “heavy metalcore” song. Sorry for all the quotations, but what the hell is this style considered? The influences are vast and fuse together genres that have grown up and walked together for years (punk/hip-hop). This obviously is the creation of people who have fun and can sling out moves on the dance floor like John Travolta in that one movie where he wears white pants.
Now, I did do a count, and of the 10 songs on this album, only one starts out in a more typical “hardcore” fashion with the screaming vocals (“True Blood”). It would have been nice to have more of these tracks because so many begin with the ambient and upbeat dance grooves. When this band is in the mood for their more graceful aggressive movements they pull it off well, but often there are a lot more of the synthesizer beats pulling the weight, which is entirely what the last track has to offer.
Don't get me wrong, Palisades have created a sort of treasured child in this scene, an album this catchy could be considered an abomination. Mind Games is saved by interesting instrumentals and solid vocal approaches all around the board. I just wish there were more parts ripping my face off with aggressive breakdowns and nail-biting emotional disruptions, maybe a bit hard to do when I am trying to dance like Michael Jackson to an album of this nature. Oh well.