Review: “Dusk” by Impulse

Portland, Oregon crew Impulse signed with Chris Fronzak of Attila fame’s Stay Sick Recordings to re-release their 2017 debut album “Dusk”. Amid the hype around the up and coming US Tech-Metallers, the band dropped lead single “Void” with an accompanying official music video.

The album starts with the Nu-Metal inspired lyrics of “Divide” with a gradual build into progressive tech-metal guitars and pounding drum work. The variety in the vocal is a surprise with a blend of soaring Jonny Craig inspired cleans blanced off with a gang chanted chorus and the odd unclean line. “Revenant” switches the music up a gear with a faster pace and heavier riffs driving the song on along. Some stomp worthly bounce across the bridge is a nice touch but the ill fitting chorus guitars grate. Closing out with a florish rather than a fade leads into the slow start of “Departure”. It’s very gradual slow start tricks the listener into thinking it’s going to be a mellower track but instead after a slow and quiet build the band plunge into the dirgy progressive tech-metal guitars with atmospheric almost dissonant leads. As a four piece it’s something they are going to struggle to reproduce in the live arena without either a second guitarist or a backing track (no!). The problem with this one is that it’s not nuaced enough so when you think it’s getting somewhere it returns to its root. “Acceptance” starts off with a more direct approach than its predecessor, a bouncy bassline and solid drumming underpin the heavier guitars until the chorus when things slow up to allow for bigger vocals. It’s another cut where Slaves influence on the vocals are apparent. A strange acoustic guitar break mid song will catch you off guard on the first couple of times around before the band dive back into the Nu-Metal influenced chorus.

“Haze” takes a slow burn approach with the bassline taking center stage with dialed back guitars until a big chorus. It’s only the dark and atmospheric post second chorus verse and tech guitars that save the song from itself though it is one that grows on you with multiple listens. “Safe” delivers an ambient instrumental of subtle keys overlayed with a slow hand clap inspired digital beat. It acts as a nice palate cleanser before the immediacy of “Clairvoyance”. The play on silence heavier stucccato gutairs across the verse before the delivery of punchy tech-metal riffage returns the band to what their core sound is on this album. It’s comfortably one of the more stand out tunes. Lead single “Void” is a short and sweet introduction to the band in single or music video format but placing it near the end of the album seems like an odd choice. It’s immediacy will gain fans and with bands like Varials ploughing a similar furrow it will no doubt be popular. The condensing of the bands album sound into one song isn’t something new, buy it works here because it moves away from some of the overly long songs. Closer “Doubt” dials back the guitars to deliver a nu-metal inspired lyrical affair. The clean vocals are a plenty but the surprise return to an ill fitting unclean asks the question where do the see themselves going?

Impulse’s full length debut is more progressive tech-metal with nu-metal inspired lyrics than anything else. At times it seems to take eternity to get to where you want it to be and then the song ends and while it grows on you with multiple listens, you really have to give it those multiple listens to get get the best from it and after the first time around you may find yourself wondering where the inspiration to do that comes from. If you’re a fan of bands like Valis Ablaze, Varials and Slaves then you’ll no doubt have plenty to enjoy here but a decent producer and shorted songs wout definitely suit the band better of the evidence of “Void”. [5/10]

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