Since the time before time, the Angry Metal Promo Bin has relegated one specific sub-genre to its shadowy recesses, solely to be invoked for the most incensed, no-fucks-given of contemptuous insults. I’m talking, of course, about metalcore, the bastard product of bastard children bastardizing metal with their bastardly ways, the bastards. Ye Angry Metal Faithful know that metalcore is a damnation typically reserved for the most hated of Jørn‘s children, so why in His name have I delivered His flock directly unto the wolves? Fear ye not, it’s not just because I hate you all. I also hate me, for all kinds of reasons but mostly for revelling so gluttonously amongst the blackest of the bin’s offerings1. We all deserve this to some extent, so bear with me and gather your courage, it’s time to look the beast of Coilguns in the face and say “Fuck you, metalcore, I ain’t afraid of no Millennials!”
Speaking of millennials, let me save you a Ritalin or Adderall or toad, whatever you bastards are substituting your attention spans with these days: this is a largely skippable album. This isn’t to say it’s bad – I’ll freely admit that this isn’t my wheelhouse and I’m likely to not “get” what I’m hearing. No, I can’t call what I’m hearing bad with a clean conscience, but I can call it derivative and not particularly ambitious, so… well, you know. This ish is derivative and not particularly ambitious, yo. Think the delirious stylings of The Dillinger Escape Plan applied to stilted Meshuggah riffs, all being screamed over by a poorly rested Jacob Bannon, and whatever your imagination is underwhelming you with should be about on par with what Millennials has to offer. An interesting enough set of ingredients to some, perhaps, but this peculiar Muppet won’t be revisiting this particular kitchen anytime soon.
Fan of this feast I mayn’t be, but that’s not necessarily a reflection of the cooks’ abilities. Moreover, the perpetual opponent of peace in me will forever appreciate the notion of taking what’s been done and making it heavier, which appears to be the goal of Millennials. The volume and distortion of Jona Nido and Louis Jucker’s guitars are stuck on 11, and Jucker’s energetic performance behind the mic on the title-track alone is sure to have cost the dude a day or two of vocal recovery. Throw in Luc Hess’s enthusiastic performance and sprinkle Donatien Thiévent’s synth and backing vocals over everything, and it’s undeniable that Millennials is the sound of a Swiss quartet putting their all into attempting to raise the heavy bar of… well, heaviness. The fervor and zeal of a band doing their damnedest to do their thing permeates the entirety of the album, and to that end I’ll dole out credit where it’s due. Coilguns are here to make things fuckin loud and they certainly accomplish this task.
It’s one thing to expound upon ye olde sonic foundations in hopes to pioneer a brave new metal world, but a key component of innovation is innovation, and that’s in short supply here. Sure, building on what’s already there is how you progress in the first place, but there’s a fine line between mutation and mimicry, and Millennials meanders on the malevolent side of that line more often than not. “Blackboxing” is as good an example as any, filtering Nothing era Meshuggah riffs through Norma Jean noise and going everywhere you’ve been before, just screechier. Subjectivity dictates that this will work for some, but objectivity dictates that this is all but unacceptable. Millennials is as dissonant and violent as fans of the genre are sure to expect, but it’s doing its thing with riffs and atmospheres that already existed, and fans hoping for any semblance of originality can only expect this knife to twist itself further as the album’s 38 minutes plod by.
For what it’s worth, I respect the ethos here. Coilguns attempt to inject some life into a relatively stale genre, but the end result is more Frankenstein than Bionic Man, forcing the dead riffs of yesteryear to writhe and shake in a parlor trick rather than improving them in any way with the technology of the present. If you’re looking for music that’s loud and chaotic solely for the sake of being such, I guess you’re welcome but maybe don’t talk to me ever again. If you’re looking for something that stands out independently while taking risks and displaying musical maturity, though… I mean, they called it Millennials, yo. Come on.