The most exceptional aspect of this latest installment from Canadian electronic-hardcore band Abandon All Ships has to be the band’s decision not to use auto-tune on Martin Broda’s clean vocals. Though using the popular trick adds a more pop, club-friendly vibe to almost any song, the lack of auto-tune adds an entirely new edginess to Abandon All Ships. They have always had screaming and breakdowns and some occasional crabcore, but the auto-tune combined with the techno left an unpleasant ringing in the eardrums… like if Ke$ha came out with a hardcore album. Nightmares.
Malocchio (2014) includes the heaviness and the electronics, but the clean vocals keep the tracks, and album as a whole, grounded and enjoyable. The raspy screams simply sound better with less synthetic cleans.
The album has a lot of positive qualities including a fairly good balance, mixing-wise, between the band’s instruments and the techno beats. Neither proves overwhelmingly out of place or intrusive. They blend the genres fairly well, and offer a slightly unique style to electronic hardcore music, coined EHM by I See Stars. The track “Alive ft. Astrokat” definitely stands out as the most EDM friendly song, not only because it features a DJ, but because the song sounds like it should be a remix of an AAS song. Remixing a song before it even exists… ahead of the game, eh?
The refreshing non-auto-tuned clean vocals almost outweigh the slightly bland unclean vocals, which do not really stand out as anything necessarily extraordinary. Despite a few vocal shortcomings the album overall offers an enjoyable sonic experience. The songs flow well together and the album has a good edge to it. The album title, Malocchio, means ‘evil eye.’ Accordingly so, many of the songs involve karma getting to the people who deserve it; therefore, the Italian slang sets an intriguing stage for the record.
Malocchio is available February 11.
Review by Alice Carson