On any given instance, Currents could easily go the way of any number of other metalcore bands. With a fairly nondescript name, and titles and artwork following the path of metalcore’s usual box-ticking rigmarole, it’s easy enough to dismiss them on that alone, even with a fanbase as dedicated as theirs seeing as that’s unfortunately become a staple of countless chancers within this genre. Because really, unless a metalcore band has been deliberately marketed or singled-out for how they’re doing some new with the genre (and even that can be hit-or-miss at the best of times), the chances are their sonic palette is no broader than most others’, and Currents’ past material has been a rather solid indication of that on the whole. It’s hard to necessarily call them bad, but you’d never hear anyone talking about their 2017 debut The Place I Feel Safest even at the time, and its follow-up EP I Let The Devil In was an even more awkward prospect given that it bulked itself up with subsequent instrumental renditions of each of its five tracks. As such, The Way It Ends arrives as another album dropped from the aether that, if Currents’ history has proven anything, probably won’t stick around too long, and probably won’t be that much of an interesting evolution from what they’ve previously delivered.
And while that can be rather resoundingly deduced easily enough, it’s not as much of a negative as it could be. To be perfectly clear, The Way It Ends is absolutely nothing unique or even all that special, but at least Currents are going into it with more gusto and power, and it’s surprising how many cracks that alone can paper over. For a blunt, relatively impactful dose of metalcore junk food, Currents can deliver that here, even if the overall longevity of an album like this is pretty limited to say the least.
That’s arguably where The Way It Ends takes the most considerable stumble, as it’s clear that Currents are trying to occupy the metalcore space that’s actively shooting for sweeping, earth-shaking statements, and landing with about as much of a whimper as all the others. To their credit, staying away from overwrought poetry or the mercenary strip-mining of tropes is a wise move, but it’s a small notch that takes a lot of The Way It Ends’ writing from bad to just forgettable. There’s not really a new perspective that’s brought to the topics of class divide on Poverty Of Self or mental illness on Monsters and Let Me Leave (although the latter does have some nice imagery), and particularly near the end when each song feels more or less like a vehicle to funnel what it’s doing into a big chorus, the writing takes a backseat regardless. On the other hand though, it’s hard to earmark any of that as an egregious sin within metalcore; far worse than this gets a pass much more regularly, and even if Currents’ end product doesn’t amount to a great deal more, it’s still alright for what it’s trying to do.
Even then, it does take a well-defined second spot to the execution of it all, another area where Currents aren’t exactly remoulding the sound, but where they fare a lot better than what otherwise might be expected of them. There’s a nice heaviness to this album that’s already a good start, and when that’s augmented with touches of tech-metal in the opened-up synths of Kill The Ache and How I Fall Apart, or even deathcore on Poverty Of Self, it’s not an amazing breadth of range but it’s noticeable that Currents are trying. It helps that the production has as much crunch to it as it does, shunning a lot of the gloss that tends to water down modern metalcore for something a bit rawer and less restrained. Brian Wille’s vocals help a lot there too, with an ability to dish out melodic hooks brimming with polish and power, but also a harsher range of screams that give him an impressive malleability within these songs. It leaves Currents hitting upon a sound that’s still relatively loyal to the standard metalcore template but not defined by it, leading to what would be generally be agreeable in the modern scene in terms of sound and execution without being too uninspired.
It’s not incredible stuff by any means, but it’s a balance that does well for Currents, and using it to, at the very least, endeavour to carve out their own space within metalcore is a worthwhile conceit. They don’t succeed too much given how The Way It Ends still relies on a lot of familiarity to get by, but the wheels are in motion and it’s definitely possible to see their efforts reaping some rewards. It’s hard to tell how far they’ll be pushing this forward on future releases, given that it’s not the most pronounced her, but attempting to go further is something that Currents should put some thought into; they’ve got potential, and that seems to be the best way for them to properly harness it.
For fans of: Make Them Suffer, Polaris, The Brave
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘The Way It Ends’ by Currents is released on 5th June on Sharptone Records.