When people tell you that metal is nothing but death, gore, blood, viscera and hatred, you can shut that down and you can shut that down a lot of different ways. However, Standing Ovation are on the verge of releasing their new album Gravity Beats Nuclear which is a very fun album to listen to to say the least. Standing Ovation combine heavy a lot of different elements in their music to create their very specific sound. Each song is relatively long-with the biggest chunk coming in at the second half of the album-which means that Standing Ovation has time to captivate you and throw you into a whimsically entertaining album.
These progressive metallers do a great job of mixing and matching different styles of metal giving them plenty of room to toy with their sound, and giving them plenty of room to create a new sound each and every song. Nothing throughout Gravity Beats Nuclear sounds the same. There are no recycled riffs, no rehashed synths, and no overplayed themes.
At certain times during this release, Standing Ovation takes an almost theatrical approach to their music. The song in which it is most notable is Fool’s Parade as it almost unravels like a play right before your eyes. Fool’s Parade is a slower song that focuses more on the play of a dizzying piano than any other song does. More than that, the vocalist seems as though he’s singing in a broad way show as he belts out silky cleans on top of the already smooth musicianship.
On the other side of the progressive metal token, Standing Ovation gives you songs such as Hellbillies which is arguably the most entertaining songs on the entire album. Hellbillies shoots out of the gate with an electronic intro that quickly splits off into a bouncy, road kill frying boot stomping romp. This song is the heaviest on the album as it supplies you with plenty of quick little blast beats, almost death metal style riffing and directly in the middle of the song is an uncharacteristic death metal growl which is followed by something like a gremlin.
Standing Ovation seems more than at home and more than comfortable thinking well outside of the box as they display an innate ability to create a story, and not just tell it, but get you hooked on every single note and melody.
Even when Gravity Beats Nuclear breaks into a more riff heavy and faster pace, the music is still very melodic. And even with songs such as Hellbillies they still keep their whimsy about them and still keep that melodic edge.
At the halfway point of the album, Standing Ovation focuses a little more on longer songs, and during the eighteen minute journey that is Lifeline you get a little bit of everything. It is during Lifeline that you get to appreciate the musicianship a little more as well as the story telling. Lifeline seems as though it could have fit at the end of the album as well, but it finds its home to be in the middle of Gravity Beats Nuclear instead. As mentioned, this song displays everything that Standing Ovation has already shown you in the previous six songs, but they bring it all together in this one eighteen minute piece to showcase all of their talents at once.
The closing track I Am is just as theatrical as the rest of the album and is a great closer to an album like Gravity Beats Nuclear. I Am ties the album together well leaving no loose ends once it’s over, while leaving you wanting to listen again at the same time. Gravity Beats Nuclear features a lot packed into only nine songs, but within those nine songs there is a little bit of something for everyone.
Gravity Beats Nuclear comes out through Inverse Records on November 27th.