As Likely As Not: Stand Up and Nerve

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As Likely As Not: Stand Up and Nerve
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As Likely As Not: Stand Up and Nerve
Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore
The Execution Kollective
March 29th, 2011
Release length: 34:53
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As Likely As Not is an Italian Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore act that recently signed to The Execution Kollective. The group marks their first signing with their debut full-length release, Stand Up and Nerve, a rather strong debut for the group that finds them trying to bring in some unique and original ideas to a style that has seen it all already. But, do these ideas make the album any more or less enjoyable?

Stand Up and Nerve stands out mostly through the atmosphere of the music. The songs are typically punishing, and capture many of the staple concepts of the Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore hybrid bands. However, the one thing going for this release is the darker Melodic Death Metal approach the group includes, and just how heavy an influence that portion of the band’s style genuinely plays in the material. “Realization” is the first truly important track off the release, as it shows that concept well through strong dark and heavy guitars and a rhaspy shouting style that adds more edge to the music then most Metalcore acts could hope to achieve, all working together through varying breakdowns that are quite interesting and ultimately hold an atmosphere that is seperate from the general sound of the song they appear in. While “Realization” doesn’t have one of these breakdowns, the track itself is a non-stop Melodic Death Metal assault that hits with the right amount of hooks and brutality, while “My Last Confession” does have a breakdown and has a stronger Metalcore approach with a rather traditional atmosphere to the song of well done Metalcore in the vein of acts like Diecast, but the breakdowns that appear here have an atmosphere that feels like a reminiscent vibe with some bridges that feel more Pantera Southern-Metal inspired without holding a worship-like Groove gimmick to it as well.

Another thing that stands out on Stand Up and Nerve are the gang chants. While this isn’t any new by any means, the chants that appear on here are simply fantastic. There are many bands out there that incorporate them to the point of overkill, but a lot of times the chants just don’t really have much going for them other then it’s a few people shouting at the same time. While that’s all well and good for some Thrash, Heavy and Power Metal acts, when it comes to bands trying to create an intimidating sound, it simply doesn’t cut it. As Likely As Not isn’t necessarily trying to create an intimidating atmosphere on many songs, but a good majority of the songs come off that way. The chants here are actually intimidating when they are supposed to be. “Red Fleer”, for example, has a deeper set of chants the first time that come off intimidating. However, the second time around, they do feel a little lackluster and a little disappointing, but it’s reassuring to know that there are and will be times where they have some real balls to them, and they do appear like that on other tracks in the recording.

However, this release is not without it’s faults. Again, the band doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the style, but they show plenty of promise of creating a sound all their own, and manage to do that on some tracks, such as “Realization” with it’s heavier, muddier Melodic Death sound. However, some of the tracks here don’t carry that same kind of muddy, more intimidating musical vibe. “Designed Love” comes off more as a traditional Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore song that plays it safe, working with many of the generic staples to create a song that isn’t all that impressive, lacks atmosphere, and ultimately becomes forgettable. “My Last Confession” is also a good song, but it once again plays it safe and caters more towards a generic Metalcore sound as pointed out earlier. Other then that, the music here is impressive, especially for a debut with a style that has been running through a streak of bland releases, but it’s still not the most impressive release out there, having a number of songs like “Nerving Empathy” and “Realization” having enough bite to them to get your head banging, even against your will. But, that’s about it. While the other songs, generic and they may be with staple sounds and playing it safe, the songs are missing something and never really kick the listener hard enough to get a solid headbang going, or even get the blood boiling.

When all is said and done, Stand Up and Nerve is definitely an impressive release from this Italian act. They really seem to know what they are doing, and branch out through the styles nicely to create some really catchy and intimidating material. It has it’s flukes, but none to genuinely make you want to avoid this release. As Likely As Not proves to be a band to keep an eye on, having a sound that is distinguishable enough, and has some unique atmosphere’s employed. If the band continues to focus more on a Melodic Death Metal sound then a traditional Metalcore foundation to this style, then we may be looking at a group that has the potential to breathe a little more life in the style. If you’re a fan of the style and the breakdown, then Stand Up and Nerve is an album definitely worth checking out at some point soon.

01. Designed Love – 3:43
02. Realization – 4:23
03. My Last Confession – 5:09
04. Red Fleer – 4:48
05. Only Echoes of Dreams – 1:10
06. Inhale Exhale – 4:17
07. Nerving Empathy – 5:01
08. Omega – 6:23
Overall Score: 8.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by The Execution Kollective.