April 16, 2009 | | 3

Seneca, Reflections

Seneca: Reflections

To tell you the truth, I was close to not even giving this one a chance. I’m not particularly a fan of the emocore-esque clean vocals that make a repeated appearance through the album. That said, the second full-length, and debut for Lifeforce Records, from Seneca is actually a pretty decent little album. Reflections delivers a concoction of beefy riffs, varied guttural versus clean vocals, progressive tendencies and melody to create a rich and, to some degree, memorable sound.

Think, newer In Flames mixed with something from the likes of Miseration, yet a bit more captivating. This North Carolina troupe isn’t reinventing the wheel, but their breed of melodic metalcore has a little something extra to it that’s quite enjoyable.

“Optical” starts off the album with about a minute and a half of elements that essentially build up to the explosion of activity that starts off “Palehorse.”

This is the first proper song on the album and it opens up with chugging riffs and a slick bit of guitar work while the rhythm section do their best to beat you senseless before you have an opportunity to fast forward to the next song. The band is very capable and can easily carry momentum through guttural vocals, beefy rhythms and driving guitars — hell the riffs on this song are big enough to deserve plenty of moshing. The two minute mark sees very light guitar work and Demon Hunter clean and harmonious vocals.

Black Gold
“Black Gold” carries the momentum that ended out the last track seamlessly with driving riffs and thick drumming. The vocals (the deeper, guttural variety) are impressive so far on the album. I’m also digging the guitar work through the first minute. For a band that throws in piano and clean vocals, they certainly know how to bring the break down, as evident by the thundering riffs around the one minute mark. There are some slick tempo shifts and lead guitar bursts that make this more than your standard clean/gruff metalcore track.

This next one starts off with a vocalized scream and spastic drums for the first few seconds before deep, gutturals and thick, layered riffs grab you by the throat and drag you into the song. This is one of the more aggressive and violent tracks, complete with moshing riffs and beefy rhythms. My only complaint for this one is the clean vocals around 2:20 that really take the edge off of the aggression to this track. Luckily the band quickly descends into mosh fury shortly after.

“Birds” has an interesting, urgent feel to the opening few notes before the band settles into a chugging riff and guttural vocal combo. The combination of lighter guitars with the thick riffing and deep vocals makes for some seriously nice depth for this track.

A slower, quieter and calmer start to this next one breaks up the furious tempo and feel from the first half of the album. This is the weakest song on the album for me. Sure, it showcases the band’s musical variety and skills, but so far it’s completely out of place with soft, clean vocals and a sound that’s sure to get plenty of teen girls across the nation all a flutter.

The 29th Day
Well, Seneca must be toying with my emotions with this next track that opens with some slick guitars and massive riffing. After “Illusions” I was ready to shut this one down, but the boys hit had with “The 29th Day” and its beefy rhythms and melancholic feel. Throughout the mixture of mosh and melody, you’ll find some slick progressive elements incorporated nicely.

“Creator” is a bit darker than the previous tracks yet still incorporates moshing riffs and slight melodies to carry the band’s sound through the speakers with expediency. The deep guttural vocals are aggressive along with the varied tempo changes and the bludgeoning pace.

Your Heart In My Hands
“Your Heart In My Hands” has a nice groove to it amidst the chugging riffs and blasting drums. Damn it, this song is catchy as hell — I’ve fought it every time yet find myself headbanging along with it ever time. Damn you Seneca.

Names And Faces
The next to last track on the album has some nice, pile driving drums and thick riffs to get things underway. This sub-two minute song also has some of the more bruising riffs and rhythms. I’d love to hear more like this from these guys.

The title track ends the album with light guitar work and piano.

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Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: