This is sure to come as a surprise, what with the kvlt as fvck album art and all, but Through the Noise are about as trve as Santa. With their accessible angst and envelope-friendly chuggatry, these Swedes crabwalk the thick, downtuned line between nü-metal and metalcore, and by all rights, Dualism should have been inflicted upon a n00b. However, there have been far too many 4.0s awarded as ov late, and I would be remiss to turn down an opportunity to bring you bastards crashing back down to reality, so we are here. Can you feel that? Ah, shit: it’s time to get down with the sickness known as nü-metal, yo.
If it’s any consolation, Through the Noise bear far more resemblance to the likes of a thoroughly winded Chimaira, or perhaps an unleaded Unearth, than to anything Disturbed, Korn-riddled, or any other Dursty nonsense you might be imagining. The guitars are locked in radio-friendly chug mode for the vast majority of Dualism, pushing zero envelopes but admittedly pushing each track along effectively enough. Vocalist Jowl Nyberg isn’t the most refined screamer in the world, but he gets the job done and rarely harms the songs doing so, hovering in a heartfelt albeit decidedly hackneyed hoarse ‘n harsh register akin to Architects. Things are chuggy, screamy, and structured to a safe and super-familiar T, typically becoming a little more melodic during the choruses and playing like a particularly surly yet noticeably restrained Killswitch Engage
lack of effort. Throw some efficient yet inauspicious percussion over whatever vanilla bullshit your mind has presumed thus far and you’ve likely already imagined a spot-on facsimile of Through the Noise‘s sound. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out the embedded track: as of writing, I have no idea which track’ll scar this review, yet I can safely guarantee that all ov the above will describe all ov whatever you may hear.
To the album’s credit, varying degrees of moodiness lend enough tonal fluctuation to any given song as to prevent it from sounding utterly identical to its predecessor. “Secret Project,” for example, with its sullen minor scales and clean/heavy bipolarity, could hardly be mistaken for the bouncy, djent-tinged “Psychomachia” or the more wrathful Chimairic groove of “Deceiver.” The emotional palette utilized to craft Dualism is dynamic enough to shade the tracks with their own distinctive sonic hue, and this goes a long way towards keeping things from getting too boring. However, acknowledging that these songs don’t sound exactly like each other is not to say that they don’t all sound exactly like something else. To wit, they sound like roughly everything else.
Allow me to explain. Through the Noise‘s sound, generic as it is, is by and large their own; sure, comparisons could certainly between Nyberg’s gravely nasal style and those of Architects or Hatebreed, and though it’s not like the guitars ‘n drums are lifted from any band, in particular, it’s what Through the Noise is doing with their noise that makes said noise near identical to so much noise before it. Energy and a capable delivery alone can only go so far when you’re determined to play in a box, and frankly, both fall short in terms of making Dualism feel anything less than boring. Adding insult to injury, guitarists Victor Adonis and Marcus Skantz staunchly avoid any noodly displays of fretboard power, rendering any otherwise favorable comparisons to the likes of Chimaira, Unearth or Killswitch Engage all but moot. You’ve been here before, but you probably had a lot more fun with the last few tour guides since they actually brought you to new and exciting places; Dualism is as safe and watered-down a trip back to the nüberhood as it gets, a yawning reminder that you can’t go home again.
If nothing else, Dualism gave me a greater sense of appreciation for our recent influx of 4.0s. It’s not like I had high hopes for this nonsense, but there’s something oddly comforting in knowing that mediocrity is still out there, waiting to beat the shit out of any given genres dead horses. The days of new-sounding nü-metal are likely behind us, and maybe that’s for the best: I trvly don’t think I could have lived with slapping a 4.0 on anything dressed in that artwork. If you’re looking for background music that won’t threaten to steal your attention from such concentration-requiring tasks as mouth breathing or watching paint dry, this is your super safe bet. If, for some bizarre reason, you’d prefer something with anything more than zero innovation, then congratulations: you’ve just wasted your time, yo.