It is reassuring when you see plucky post-hardcore bands trying to make a name in a scene that is filled with generic bands that play towards every cliché in the book. The over-saturation in the post-hardcore scene has made finding good bands to be incredibly difficult as you’re bombarded with a steady stream of bands that just aren’t any good. However, there are glorious moments when a band jumps out at you and takes you by complete surprise.
For me, Texan post-hardcore outfit Concepts were that band. Earlier this year, Concepts erupted into mainstream attention with their cover of Maroon 5’s seductively creepy “Animals” – and it was absolutely beautiful cover. Concepts gave the song their own theatrical flair as clean vocalist Blake Williams dug deep into R&B influences to execute the clean vocals, while guttural screamed vocals stood juxtaposed to his soaring cleans. Snarling guitar riffs gave the song an ominous and violent sound, which captured an entirely new emotional spectrum for the song.
Concepts quickly followed the release of “Animals” with their new EP Transitions. The shorthand review of this piece would be that is a scorcher of an EP, but this does not do the record justice. At first impression, Transitions sounds like your typical amalgamation of post-hardcore and deathcore until you get one minute into the opening song, “Posthumous”. The track opens with the electronic haze of synth and orchestral sounds that always signify generically terrible deathcore, but then the immensely aggressive hardcore instrumentals and the throaty screamed vocals of Aaron Isbell kick in. It is at that point that you realise this is a completely different entity. This idea is further reinforced when Blake’s clean vocals kick in. He sounds like he took vocal lessons from Adam Levine and Justin Timberlake and then decided that he wasn’t cut out for the life of pop-star and joined a metal band. That was an incredibly good choice, if you ask me.
Each song on Transitions is imbued with a strange sense of theatrical flair due to the sheer contrast between Blake and Isbell and the decisively heavy instrumentals that accompany each song. It creates a palpable sense of emotional maturity as one can almost feel the emotion dripping from each lyric – whether screamed by Isbell or seductively tumbling from the lips of Blake. It is for this reason that Concepts stands above every other run-of-the-mill post-hardcore band that is trying to make a name for themselves in such a difficult scene. Also, there is a small amount of joy taken from screaming “love is fucking overrated”.