Album Review: THESE FOUR WALLS - This Is Not A Future
Artist: These Four Walls
Album: This Is Not A Future
Genre: Hard Rock / Alternative Metal / Post-Grunge
Review by Karl O’Shea
The Butterfly Effect and Dead Letter Circus have heavily shaped the sound of the Australian heavy alternative scene and cast a shadow that many, many bands have struggled to crawl out from. These are two bands that took influence from juggernauts like Deftones and Tool and crafted something fresh and unique, with albums that are arguably modern Aussie rock classics. The same cannot be said for many of the acts that came afterwards and These Four Walls are no different.
The main problem that plagues this album is that for the most part, a lot of the tracks follow the same formula of “riff-verse-anthemic chorus-slightly riffier verse-anthemic chorus-bridge with guitar solo-even more anthemic chorus” that everything starts blending together before too long. The album is punctuated with power ballads “Before I’m Gone” and “Rock Bottom” to break things up but these tracks are no more memorable than the rockier tracks that make up the bulk of This Is Not A Future. Every single song gets epic at some point and besides the occasional varying levels of quietness, there’s not much else in the way of dynamics.
There is an exception - closing track “Nothingland” is a slow-burning, atmospheric track with a slightly folky melody and a much more interesting chord progression than the other songs have to offer. And sure, the track becomes epic at the halfway mark but it feels earned and the orchestral backing is a beautiful touch. It adds a bit of diversity to an album that’s sorely lacking in it. Some real effort has gone into this song and it shows.
This is an ably produced (if a bit squeaky clean) and well-played album. There’s great tones, all instruments can be heard and it’s clear that everyone can play their respective instruments. What’s lacking is creative song-writing, self-editing (thirteen tracks was not necessary), grittiness, catchy hooks and some influences that haven’t been copied and pasted from the mid-2000s. Tracks 2-12 (track 1 is a short piano-led intro track) feel like they’ve been crafted specifically for commercial rock radio like Triple M and even though there’s the occasional scream and harder metallic edge to the riffing, This Is Not A Future sounds like musicians writing for the radio and not writing to create meaningful art.
If you love hard rock/heavy alternative from over a decade ago or you listen exclusively to Triple M then you’re probably gonna find something you like here. If you demand more from the music you listen to, it’s probably best to avoid this one.
This Is Not A Future will be released April 24th and is available at https://thesefourwalls.bandcamp.com/album/this-is-not-a-future.