Issues’ album has issues

Dominic Spizzirri

Issues seemed pretty promising as a metalcore core band. With their debut EP “Black Diamonds” released last year, I had high hopes that this Woe, is Me offspring featuring Woe, is Me vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn would release an amazing debut full length. Well maybe next time.

Issues debuted a great EP titled, “Black Diamonds” that lead many Woe, is Me fans to joy when finding out their favorite members’ new band was going to be promising. But this album in a whole is just not satisfying.

Production wise, this album is overdone. Very overdone. There are many moments where the songs sound great, such as the song “Late,” but other than that the vocals, the keyboards and the terrible tone from the guitars just does not reflect well on any song. It makes me wonder how they will even perform any of these songs live due to the amount of effects that are on this album. The best part about “Black Diamonds” was that it was simple yet complicated, this album is just too “fake” versus what is real. 

First thing I had noticed about this album is that vocalist Carter really wants to be a pop star. I say that because every word I feel like he sings (or in some cases raps) in this album just feels over produced and forced as if he should be in a duet with Nicki Minaj and not this band. Carter is known for his very pop/hip hop vocal style, but his work on this album was more annoying than gripping like his previous work on Woe, is Me’s debut “Numbers” and Issues’ previous EP “Black Diamonds.” 

Other vocalist Bohn left me with the same impression. Bohn seems to be trying so many different screaming styles that at some point just does not sound good, and makes me wonder where in the production did somebody say, “Hey that sounds great?” An example is Bohn’s attempt to scream clearly in the song “Langdon House.” It comes out as a forced attempt that makes you wish he would just do his signature scream.

The most disappointing part of the album though, is the lyrics. The work these members did on Woe, is Me’s “Numbers” and “Black Diamonds” (with exception to a few songs) was phenomenal, and the lyrics on this album are pitiful to say the least. Most feel like they could be written by a young high school student who wants to be a rebel. I never thought I would actually see “Facedown, thinking out loud. He’s so hardcore when he’s running his mouth. There’s always gonna be that f***ing guy” from the song “Stingray Affliction” as an actual lyric taken seriously.

The lyrical meanings of these songs are great though. All of them have positive messages versus some of the angry themes from “Black Diamonds.” Most of the songs’ all carry the meaning of believing in yourself, which is a very common trait for the metalcore genre now, but it is a shame they are written so badly that it makes you cringe over its cheesiness rather than feeling inspired. 

There are some highlights on the album. Despite the production, many songs are catchy. I am sure if I listened to them for an entire summer, I could find myself with some meaning to them. Overall there was never a point where I said “I want to hear that song again.” That is a huge issue for any musician. 

Overall the album has its catchy moments, but the production on just about everything and the terrible lyrics really take away from this album in making it a star in anyway. From a period that had some great releases this year in this genre, Issues’ self-titled is a huge let down and the end of the good streak. Needless to say, “Issues” has issues.