Means Sending You Strength

Facedown Records generally inks a decent band once every three or four years. Nevertheless, they’ve managed to score two hits in a row with Means’ third offering, and first for the label, dropping hot on the heels of last month’s derivative yet engaging xDeathstarx release. While occasionally venturing beyond what the group are capable of performance-wise, you can’t fault Means for trying really, really hard. The passion displayed throughout Sending You Strength is undeniable, as the band plough through a surprisingly lengthy disc’s worth of competent emotional metalcore, occasionally broaching more commercial, screamo-ish melodies and structures. Crew vocals are used effectively and the dynamic, punchy production highlights a strong rhythm section and shimmering, Shai Hulud-esque leads. A recurrent problem is the clean vocals — guitarist/vocalist Matt Gaud often is simply unable to achieve the higher notes that the band’s more sensitive moments so clearly rely on. Once again, though, with such an oversaturated and ultimately damning genre tag, it’s the effort that counts, and Means provide that in spades. This is worth a look for the less discriminating metalcore enthusiast. (Facedown)