The modern trend of marrying scene rock with classic pop has yielded a mixed bag of results. To see that, look no further than Sleeping with Sirens, who coughed up a painfully overproduced pop record in 2017’s Gossip only to come back two years later with this year’s Leave it All Behind, which played well to die-hard fans.
Indeed, the pop/scene pairing is risky. And its one that, honestly, more often than not, yields a record that falls short of expectations.
So, as Lynn pop punk band Pregame Rituals hit the studio for their second single of the year, recently, they installed metal as a fail-safe mechanism in their ever developing sound.
It was a great choice.
Set to be released in the coming weeks, “Devil’s Son” is an accessible yet authentic flirtation with heavy metal made within the familiar confines of pop punk.
Its massive sounding drums are striking, featuring fat snare tones and punchy kick drum hits. These beats are unsteady as well, riding on kick drum sequences before then exploding in scattered bursts of marching snare rhythms.
The drums pay dutiful homage to the work of pop punk icons like Travis Barker or Tre Cool while particularly setting themselves apart in the flawless ways in which they are mixed and equalized.
Beyond that, the similarly prominent rhythm guitar work by this band defines the “Devil’s Son” sound.
The track first slogs along to the tune of hand muted quarter note strums with moderate distortion. As Pregame Rituals gets to its choruses, however, those guitars evolve into ones with heavy and violent classic metal tones, turning the song into somewhat of a 2:44 minute metal breakdown with the high pitched vocals of Gorgio Brofas serving as the icing on the cake on top of it all.
Indeed those vocals are the silky smooth poppy counterweight to the dark guitars and savage drum work. Brofas sings with edge to his voice but does so with some sad emotion and a sense of pleading to his listeners.
Once again, as well, the adept mixing of this track shines, this time in its vocal section. Brofas seemingly converses with himself, bouncing between his clean vocals and a filtered, reverberated version of those same lines. He joins himself as he sings, establishing complex melodies with heavy vocal dubbing particularly on these choruses. It’s an angry chorus created out of the breath of one man amid a larger scene of sonic violence. And it’s rock solid.
In analyzing modern music, it’s the big bands that get eyes. Thus, it’s their resulting binary experimentation with musical genres that gets our attention as music fans.
We talk emo/rap, pop/rock, rap/funk, or, in the case of the aforementioned Sleeping with Sirens, scene/pop. But it often takes a deeper dive to find bands that push the confines of genre and the recording process beyond those almost now mainstream amalgamations.
Fans of local music make those dives on a regular basis. Luckily for the more metal-curious of those fans diving particularly into the Northshore scene, Pregame Rituals exists, and they’re doing some great work.
~ Dakota Antelman