The Browning – Geist
Released: October 26th, 2018
The Browning Lineup —
Jonny McBee // Vocals & Electronics
Brian Moore // Guitar
Colin Woroniak // Bass
Cody Stewart // Drums
From an outsider’s perspective, it would seem mainstream core music has hit a bit of a stagnation point. Not since 2012 has there been a year where an absolute trove of albums have been released to critical and fan acclaim alike: Architects, Parkway Drive, Shadows Fall and Monuments all released brilliant albums that year. Because of this, I wore an optimistic grimace as I began listening to The Browning’s new album, which slowly turned into a legitimate grin.
The Browning are eclectic to say the least. Mixing heavy metalcore with hardstyle electronics, for the most part, is something that bands attempt, but often fail to do effectively. Geist is not only effective at this job, but it’s massively dynamic and creative with the range of genres it pulls from this time around.
Geist retains the bombastic sounds of earlier albums; album opener ‘Sick Minds’ is all blast beats and crushing drum fills. Cody Stewart’s sticks gallop across the drum kit like a herd of horses crushing you beneath their razor sharp hooves. Jonny McBee’s vocals, also a mainstay of the band’s sound, are better than ever as well. Heavy throaty shouting is slathered all over the headbangable groove of songs like ‘Geist’, featuring Paul Bartzsch of WBTBWB. And to cap it all off, the sounds are all in lazer focus, no muddled drums underneath bass heavy synths, or electric lines vying for attention over guitar riffs. It’s all exactly where it needs to be to deliver a perfect The Browning experience.
In addition, it’s with great satisfaction that I can state there are musical variations on this album. Second single ‘Final Breath’ shows a vocal performance more akin to a velvety glove than a wooden mallet. ‘Carnage’ features a rap verse, and ‘Hellblade’ has a soaring, catchy chorus of shouts and classic screams. Instrumentally, there are more open chugging chords than you could throw a Jackson Pro Series Juggernaut at, but they are effectively contrasted with dynamic (there’s that word again but it’s true!) sections of melody and rhythm. ‘Noctis’ is quite the example; it has a simple bouncy riff and breakdown structure going on, but the variation of melody with open chords is quite startling.
The song structures would be the only thing that really let Geist down in the long run. And it’s not like I’m expecting them to reinvent the wheel here; they’re innovative as far as I’m concerned (much better than Silent Descent, sheesh). However, a bit of variation in structure may allow for a bit more creativity in their songwriting process; maybe we’ll see it next album. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Geist is a surprisingly good album. It’ll serve a niche purpose in my own personal life, but I can confidently state there are song great songs present here. The Browning know how to deliver bone shaking music that feels at home in a mosh pit or a Berlin dance club.
Favourite tracks: Noctis, Geist
The Browning – Geist tracklisting
- Sick Minds
- Beyond Stone
- Final Breath
- Awaken the Omega