Century – Red Giant Album Review1 By Rick Bakker
In an age where bands feel compelled to write music to fit in a certain sub-genre, there’s Prosthetic Records’ Century, whose music freely covers the styles of Metal, Post-Hardcore, and Punk. It’s a sound that’s reminiscent of 90’s Hardcore legends Intergrity and Snapcase, who blended styles effortlessly. By the admission of lead singer Carson Slovak, “The only agenda of Century is that we have no agenda.” Originally conceived as a one man band, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania outfit has slowly but steadily grown. After releasing the highly praised debut Black Ocean, an album that found its way onto Revolver’s Top 20 releases of 2008, Century have returned with Red Giant (Prosthetic Records). The album title is fitting as the overall sound of this record is very heavy and angry. However, it’s the bands willingness to throw unconventional, melodic ideas and clean vocals into the hardcore sound which provide the album’s best moments.
The album starts with “Lobotomy”. It’s a fast, scathing track that brings out singer Slovak’s very chaotic vocal style, which may be a turn off for some listeners. He goes back and forth between a standard metalcore vocal and an unhinged madman freely screaming without flow. It’s a style that will make anyone within earshot take notice, but it may be very jarring for certain listeners and can at times be a downside for parts of the album. The music fueling the aggression throughout the disc is solid, with simple but catchy riffs and powerful drums. Instead of flashy musicianship, the band has chosen to be creative in other ways that reveal themselves as the album progresses.
After the first two tracks you may think you have this band figured out, but the band throws a change-up with “Oak God”. The track locks in with a nice heavy groove that will get heads nodding along, and then from out of nowhere the bridge brings in a guest vocal from Candlebox’s Kevin Martin. It’s a very melodic and catchy break that is unexpected from the chaos that precedes it, however it works well. It shows a band that’s confident in its sound and willing to mix things up.
The experimentation continues on “Dry Bride”, which features interesting verse vocals from singer Adam Taylor but meshes nicely with Slovak’s heavy vocals in the chorus. “Painting Leprosy” goes back to basics with a very fast punk-ish verse and a heavy metalcore chorus that’s reminiscent of Unearth, an overall enjoyable track. “In Hell” begins with a slow, spoken word intro that shows a Rage Against the Machine influence. It then gives way to a heavy chorus punctuated with a melodic piano that recalls Swedish metal kings Dark Tranquility. It’s another highlight of the album. The closer “Iconoclaust” features another clean vocal guest appearance, from Mike Coasey (formerly of armsbendback) and adds melody to a brutal track.
Red Giant could have been a very standard metalcore release, but the band wisely chose to add some variety to the hardcore/metalcore mix and avoids a monotonous sounding album. While not every track is a winner, the standout songs carry the album through. Heavy music fans with an open mind should check this out.