After a lot of self-inflicted punches including drug abuse, internet scamming and rehab, Jonny Craig the former member of Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance and Isles & Glaciers puts himself back on the right path by making better use for such a talent through releasing a new record called Through Art we are all Equals with his newly formed band Slaves which includes guitarist Alex Lyman – of Hearts & Hands – bassist Colin Vieira – of Musical Charis, and drummer Tai Wright.
Usually, a successful musical piece is achieved by combining three major elements: Vocal performance, lyrics and music. They all need to go in a perfect harmony to captivate and entertain the listener, sadly that wasn’t the case in this record. The record is best described as “Vocal centered” which doesn’t go with genre of this music that should depend and focus on the music. Throughout the record, everything seems to vanish behind Craig’s powerful and emotional voice including the lead guitar who was nearly absent and the bass that wasn’t recognizable, but thankfully, the drums worked perfectly with the vocal performance to save the record producing a beautiful blend, pleasant to the ear and suitable for the lyrics and the mood of the record. Sadly, the overall music is kind of repetitive through the record, which makes all the tracks sound similar in a boring manner.
The album was released June 24, 2014 including features from big names such as Vic Fuentes – of Pierce The Veil – and Tyler Carter of – Issues and other small names like Jonny’s sister Natalie Craig. There are two very noticeable things about the three features; first of which is how Natalie Craig‘s voice sounds like a female copy of her brother’s that makes it hard for the listener to differentiate between them in the track they trade lines in ‘The Hearts Of Our Young’. The second is how much Vic excels in his parts in ‘Starving For Friends’ to the point of outshining Craig in his own track.
After the various struggles of the vocalist that lasted more than 4 years with his self-destructive personality and lifestyle a powerful, deep, dark product was expected and that’s exactly what was delivered. Lyrics in the album are clearly affected by the lead vocal experiences and he really shows that he uses music to express himself and deliver what he feels to his fans which is a good thing but not enough to build a successful band on even if you have a voice like Craig’s in it.
An important point to mention that it is really hard to put this album into a genre, one cannot easily say it’s a post hardcore album or a metal core album, if we compare this band to another post hardcore band like Pierce The Veil, we would find a lot of things missing most important of them all is the heaviness of the guitar melodies, the vocal performance is typical for this genre and also the drums but there is something missing it doesn’t feel right according to how the album sounds to call it post hardcore.
Slaves started from a good place with this album thanks to Jonny Craig‘s vocal performance which basically held the record on his arms, but the band will have to produce stronger music in their next album to make listeners not feel like it’s a one man band and that Craig is a leader and the rest are just keeping up with him, because – as the years proved- this never leads to any good.
The best track in the record is ‘The Fire Down Below’ which is the first track on the album. It is the best representative for the album and listening to it will give you a hint of how the album sounds, so, here is the official lyric video of it released by artery records.
Edited by: NJ Bakr