Published Jun 10, 2014Solid State Records really fell from grace. The once great label previously embodied metalcore with great bands such as Norma Jean, Underoath and Zao often touring alongside or above their secular counterparts, outdoing them both in sound and on stage. Unfortunately, record contracts and the longevity of bands have a limited shelf life, and the label has been struggling to rise again for quite some time now. Wolves at the Gate's VxV (five by five) is the latest attempt at reclaiming relevance.
Like Emery (once of Solid State's parent label, Tooth and Nail) raised on a diet of Architects, the Ohio group inject their colloquially-called "post-hardcore" with a steady dose of breakdown dynamics — post-metalcore, anyone? Their sound is anchored by the powerful voice of singer/guitarist Steve Cobucci, whose soaring singing contrasts the standard screams. The hooks are carefully crafted, with melodic notes underlying the emotive words, which are often offputtingly Christian and could thus alienate some listeners. Overall, the band's Thrice ambitions often fall short, and they end up sounding like a less technical, softer version of Architects. While they almost manage to keep up with their secular peers, they're certainly not surpassing them yet; it's a solid state, but not an impenetrable one. (Solid State)