There’s a very real case to be made for metal being provocative, and while it isn’t an ideology that’s the most in fashion at the moment, there’s nothing to say it can’t work. Granted, there needs to be something behind it to justify it or at least strengthen it (that’s presumably why it’s seen as such a regular feature in black metal), but that’s a hurdle that plenty seem to fall over right out of the gate. Steel Panther’s one joke gets old horrendously quickly; Emmure lack the good graces to do anything with their edgelord rantings; these are the sorts of things that drastically limit what a band can achieve by blindly pushing buttons. And nowhere has that become more commonplace than with Attila, given how hard Chris Fronzak tries to be a bawdy, no-fucks-given party-bro but only ends up falling flat on his face. Therefore, it’s a bit distressing that InVisions are being touted as the newest breakout stars of Fronzak’s Stay Sick label, particularly when one of their primary selling points is their NSFW attitude that immediately throws up some red flags – this could very realistically be Attila Jr, a prospect that no self-respecting person wants or needs.
Fortunately that’s not the case, but if it was there’d at least be something to talk about. As it stands, Between You & Me horrendously struggles to telegraph anything worthwhile about itself or that would do anything in the greater context of metalcore as a whole, relying on all the usual tricks that still doesn’t look anything less like a blank canvas, and only occasionally injecting a degree of chest-puffing ‘swagger’ that’s hard to take all that seriously at all. It ends up as a spectacularly anonymous album, rescued from true irrelevance by a pretty solid production job that decks out the guitars with some much-needed nu-metal chunkiness, and Ben Ville’s vocal performance as the sort of elasticated screamer with some great range and skin-flaying power that, in all honesty, is wasted on an album that’s as otherwise run-of-the-mill as this.
It’s not even as if this can be singled out as something truly terrible either; InVisions at the very least have a better ear for heft and the beneficial qualities of punishing force than a lot of their peers, and as an alternative bit of mosh fodder, it still isn’t great with the tiresome reliance on monochromatic, faux-grandiose swell to appear epic and dramatic, but Between You & Me will ultimately suffice. And sure, there’s something that can be gleaned from the grisly, menacing (and all-too-brief) subversion of overzealous, over-earnest balladry on LifeLost that can have some level of real darkness to it as probably the strongest song here. Remove those though, and Between You & Me stands as a hulking monolith of metalcore derivativeness, from the beatdown-saturated presentation that mushes every single track together and subsequently makes this a chore to get through, to the writing that’s less gleefully offensive and more cobbled together from verbatim clichés that somehow only makes its likability plummet even further. Oh, and when they do try to be the swaggering alpha-bros just like their mentor on tracks like Too Far Gone and Too Little, Too Late, it’s all kneecapped by how utterly inauthentic it all sounds, and how InVisions are clearly taking pride in the knowledge that they’ll be the ones to foster in the edgelord phases of many a disgruntled white boy before they inevitably come to their senses.
And that’s basically the extent of what Between You & Me has to offer; it’s insubstantial, yes, but it’s also not really worth getting as worked up about it as InVisions clearly want everyone to be. They actually deserve some credit for a presentation that – at least in spots – doesn’t cave to metalcore’s safe rigidity and has that snarling anger to it, but it’s severely undercut by how little is actually done with it. It’s the same problem that so much metalcore in the early 2010s had, and indeed, Between You & Me could’ve been imported directly from then given how huge of a crutch that milking clichés is, and how it’ll most likely be forgotten remarkably soon after impact. Admittedly, you could do worse, but given the glut of metalcore out there, especially at the minute, there’s literally no chance of not finding something better with minimal effort.
For fans of: Motionless In White, Attila, Miss May I
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Between You & Me’ by InVisions is released on 8th February on Stay Sick Records.