Sure, on the surface, Victory Records’ latest signing gaffe, Design the Skyline, might sound like a combination of nonsensical shouting and an infinite rambling of the most lazily written breakdowns since, well, Victory Records’ last release. But after scratching the surface of the headphone-shattering throaty grunts of Nevaeh, could this seven-piece outfit be more than what painfully meets the eardrums?
Come to think of it, Design the Skyline might have composed one of the most avant-garde albums of the year, already proving their thoughtful complexity by spelling “heaven” backwards and plastering it on as the title of their debut. Maybe the endless run of scratchy screams on “Reality Away” are a secret shout for help against the flood of samey neon-core bands watering down the genre. Maybe the incomprehensible pig squeals that litter “Witch of the Woods” are a poignantly phrased social commentary. And how about the poetically named “Break Free From Your Life,” obviously a stirring battle cry against conventional apathy? Or, maybe Nevaeh is just a front-runner for the worst album of the year.
Does it really take seven band members to make music this bad? Clean vocals fall to the wayside and are few and far between on a record packed full of bland shouts, guttural screams, and instrumentation so obscenely penned that it’s hard to believe that even Victory would give this album the green light. With “the future” listed as the band’s only influence, the computerized bleeps and bloops that run rampant through songs like the cringe-worthy “Cybernetic Strawflower” are almost enough to make even the most headstrong deathcore fan cross his fingers that the world will end in 2012.
These guys are really in line to be Hot Topic’s newest “it” band? With faux-br00tal and apparently World of Warcraft-inspired “Crystal Swords Kill the Hordes” opening the album? But, in all fairness, the album scored itself half a point by keeping “Reverie” and the title track instrumental, and not subjecting listeners to another go-round of traded off screams.
Nevaeh is an overproduced mess of garbled vocals and music ripped from the pages of the “Scenecore 101” textbook. If Design the Skyline is riding the first wave of the future of music, I hope it gets swallowed up by the tide before it can make it to shore.