The masochistic methodology of Muppetism makes for many messes, multiple missteps, and much more metalcore than mere mortals are meant to amass. I wouldn’t put up with my own bullshit if it didn’t come with perks, and thankfully one of said Muppet bonus features is an almost inability to not be entertained. Long story short: I dragged Vitae from the depths of the Angry Metal Punishment Puddle in hopes of delighting in the suffering of others, so here we are. The Hall doors are locked by now, anyway, so we might as well just accept what’s been set before us and check out this metalcore nonsense Set Before Us. Don’t be afraid to cringe or cry. It… pleases me.
Contain your shock, folks: Vitae is full of not-surprises, adhering strictly to the tried, trite, and certainly untrve ways of so much core that’s come before Set Before Us. Chuggy djentistry serves as a sort of sonic firmament for energetic melodies and lead work to romp upon, and each adventure follows a safe, yet somewhat scenic verse-chorus-verse-chorus-nonsense-chorus road to nowhere new. Variations of “Woe is me, for I’m all wounded and misunderstood and, like, still optimistic and deep” bounce between nasally cleans, A Day to Remember hardcore screams and garbled Deadlock growls with the kind of flow that wins the talent shows where these things belong but only makes life painfully boring when they find their way into the promo bin. Whiney clean vocals plea for understanding or else attempt to impart wisdom beyond their years before shifting into scream-mode to show you they mean business, emphasized by breakd000wns or shimmering, placid pauses as the moodiness calls for. If you’ve heard Bring Me the Horizon, Adept, and any angsty metal-ish teen, ever, you’ve essentially heard Vitae, simple as that.
Soundwise, these Swedes steal the sonic aesthetic of the sweet and similarly Swedish Adept; fans of Adept may find this new act to be a welcome gift, and I don’t particularly blame them, yet such is the similarity to the bands’ sounds that I’m still not entirely convinced Set Before Us aren’t just Adept from another, much more nasally dimension. Vocalist Erik Tropp picks his soul apart straight through his nose, delivering clean vocals with a register akin to Cove Reber (ex-Saosin) after attempting to clear his sinuses by huffing gravel, and yet this vaguely unique property is the only attribute to this whole thing that actually provides any semblance of personal identity to Vitae; The chunky, grooved rhythms are super similar to Surroundings, the bright and moody melodies came from Adept and Parkway Drive, and the effective yet inauspicious drums are bargain buys from Metalcor-Mart, but the nascent nasal nescience of “Charon” is SBU‘s and theirs alone… yay.
So, yeah, this particular batch of metalcore set before us is about as brilliant and original as abandoning your moving vehicle in order to film yourself dancing alongside it, but unlike the latter I don’t wish the purveyors of the former to keep on keepin’ on til they die. I want Set Before Us to stay in their vehicle, take a look at themselves in the mirror and all the other motherfuckers behind them heading to the same place, and jump the curb to take their own route. Sure, it’s more challenging to blaze a new trail, but SBU have the tools to do it, and the road they’re on currently is simply too congested. Tracks like “The Eternal Fight” and “Untainted” are energetic and enjoyable, and they clearly display the bands ability to play their parts with plenty of technical ability, but it’s all just so. Fucking. Safe. Enjoyment of Vitae will vary among listeners, but any sensations of surprise experienced after listening to “Ignite” must be reported to a doctor far, far away from the Hall.
Despite the harsh tone of this rant-piece, MoM isn’t angry, just disappointed. Adept‘s sound is as good as any to steal, but for fvck’s sake at least drive it like you stole it, yo: take those tones somewhere they can grow into passages and movements, don’t just cram them into the same cages that every other fucking band does! You’re better than this, Set Before Us, I can hear it in your playing and if you’re not going to go outside the box to play with your tonal toys, then give those nice Adept boys down the road their sound back and go sit in your room quietly to think about what you’ve done, and don’t come back out until you’re ready to be yourselves!