Most of the best metal coming out today comes from various corners of death, black and doom metal, as the more mainstream end of things has become tired and consumed by hyper-compression and overproduction. Nowadays, it takes a lot for a snob like me to get excited about a band with clean production values, catchy singalong choruses and personal lyrics. But you know what? We all know a well-written song with a good chorus when we hear it. And hey, if a band can take that pop sensibility and combine it with metal foundation that retains some raw energy, I'm all ears.
Well, luckily enough we have Lansing, Michigan's Heart of Jordan to meet those needs. One of the guitarists, Elijah White, reached out to me last week and sent me a link to the band's debut album, independently released via Bandcamp. Though I wasn't sure what I was in for at first, I was thoroughly impressed by just how memorable every song was and how each one flowed into the next so nicely. Always give bands a chance, people! For a good start, check out "Deny" here:
I asked Elijah to give me some information about the making of the album:
The album was recorded and produced by Josh Schroeder (King 810, For The Fallen Dreams) at Random Awesome Studios in Midland MI. The recording and production process took six weeks altogether to get the album you hear today. Working with Josh on this album was a real pleasure and honor. He played an integral role in bringing to life the vision we wanted to create. This album represents a huge commitment and achievement, both personally and collectively. So much heart was put into it.
He went on to talk about what Heart of Jordan set to accomplish from a musical standpoint:
We set out to make something that stood out sonically from today's cookie-cutter trend in our genre. We wanted to capture the rawness and emotion of our music and lyrical content to create a timeless work that would resonate with people around the world. I believe we achieved just that. What you hear on the album is the melding of the band's individual influences; that sound from metalcore’s pioneers with ribbons of eighties metal, nineties grunge, and some more contemporary influences from the rock and metal world.
If that sounds like a grand vision, well, that's kind of the point. And good for them. In the balkanized and segmented music world of 2018, they definitely have their work cut out for them. If this was 2006, 2008 or even 2011, they'd probably have a lot easier time gaining critical mass and capturing enough attention to become a headlining act in the metal world. But the reason I like them is this: they take their influences (Killswitch Engage, 36 Crazyfists, Deftones) and gives their riffs and kick-drum sound a decent amount of polish…but they DON'T overdo it! There's no tinny post-2009 djent sound to the guitars that seemed to infect every moderately popular metal band in the last decade. And yes, there's lots of clean singing, but it's not done in the whiny manor conducted by many of the Rise Records set.
In other words, they're one of the few non-extreme bands I think are worth getting excited about. You can find them on Bandcamp via the songs I've linked above, and you can also check them out on Instagram!