As Likely As Not - _Stand Up and Nerve_
(Execution Kollective, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (4 out of 10)
What do you want me to do? Okay, I'm standing up, now... what? What the fuck does that mean? You want me to... right, you said that, but how do I... nerve?

It would be easy (and lazy, maybe) to write that, excepting their album title, As Likely As Not are whole-heartedly no-nonsense. Or that this Italian crew's debut effort is, just like their album title, completely nonsensical. The grating truth of _Stand Up and Nerve_, though, is its dogged pursuit of some sort of half sense. ALAN (the band's label-touted abbreviation) plays screeched-over metalcore pumped full of volume and hot air. Beats gallop along, chords rip through all the oft-heard melodic progressions, and gang shouts spring up just in time for the boogying breakdowns. I'm guessing that lots of teens on both sides of the Pond might be willing to stand up and... whatever... but this eight "song" set (more on the unusual punctuation later) is unlikely to keep the attention of anyone who's heard anything more progressive than, say, the last Killswitch record.

The boys seem to be able instrumentalists, though they tend to use their talents for unimaginative songs. Crunchy leads and thudding percussion shower over lead-in track "Designed Love". "Realization" is built on a shifting foundation of rhythmic changes and a few distinct vocal personalities (none of them worth getting to know better). "Inhale Exhale" invites the listener to "MEET... YOUR MAKER!" in a way that's surely meant to sound dangerous, while "Nerving Empathy" (a song that irritatingly fakes its end exactly one minute before the actual event) assures that "you will never touch me!" as if I had entertained the idea as a possibility. The acoustic section of "Red Fleer" comes off as ingenuine, nestled as it is amid bro-dudes' stage-stomping and chest-pounding, especially when the track overflows into the more generationally relevant electronic twitching of 'tween-song track "Only Echoes of Dreams". And on the topic of throwaway tracks, closer "Omega" sounds like Strapping Young Lad's "Infodump" had an annoying little brother with delusions of Genghis Tron grandeur, which wouldn't be so terrible if the album proper included more than 27 minutes of actual music. Being the longest track on a short album means that ALAN esteems it higher than mere a mere coda, but I'd be surprised if their audience can do likewise.

I feel a little silly standing up here and trying to... you know. If you don't mind, I'd like to sit down now.


(article published 19/4/2011)

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