Century: Red Giant

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Century: Red Giant
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Century: Red Giant
Hardcore, Metalcore
Prosthetic Records
August 30th, 2011
Release length: 33:58
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Century formed back in 2004, and since then had only had the chance to issue one full-length up to this point. The band’s debut album, Black Ocean, made it’s way amongst the Hardcore and Metalcore scene fans, but there wasn’t really much talk going on about the release. That was four years after the band formed, finding itself on shelves back in 2008. However, Century returned to the studio to issue their follow-up release, Red Giant, to their hungry masses awaiting it. But, does this effort shine a stronger light on the band, or does Red Giant ultimately just burn out into nothingness?

Like most releases today of this style, the music has a pretty modern quality to it. Red Giant is clear enough where the vocals and instruments sound crisp, but it does have a bit of a raw quality that it does sound digital, but at the same time sounds like an earlier digital equipment kind of recording. The bass is loud and audible with a heavy, deep presence to accompany the higher pitched guitars that feel like a traditional Hardcore sound, nothing too heavy, but feeling a little more like they were going for a sharper sound. The only problem here is that the guitars end up greatly dwarfed by the bass guitar, so when there’s a faster section to the music that does focus on guitar hooks more then anything, they wind up being drowned up by the loud bass pretty bad. The drum kit also has that same kind of volume issue, though it’s still loud enough that it doesn’t get too lost in the mix next to the bass. The bass kicks have a nice click to them with some decent volume snares that bang loudly to give off a natural sound to the mix, though the cymbols are a little further in the background, coming out a little lower in volume and not making the most impressive impact on the listener. Due to this the cymbols can sometimes even sound cluttered by white noise, as if statichad been layered over the mix somehow, which you can pick up on with the track “In Hell” due to it’s slower, more depressing atmosphere that finds a heavy focus on the cymbols. Vocally, the quality is pretty good, being around the volume level of the bass guitar with what sounds like a higher pitch distortion that really rings through in clarity during the higher screams.

Chances are good that, if you’re not a fan of the high pitched screaming that seems to be growing in popularity in the Hardcore and Metalcore scenes, when you start up Red Giant you’ll immediately want to shut the album off. Much of the song has that kind of scream to it, but in this case it’s more of an energetic sound compared to the other vocals that appear on here, though some parts can get a little out of hand with it, such as during the breakdown. There’s also plenty of strong moments here, and others, that establish a good Southern atmosphere, or even strong groove to the songs similar to Pantera or even Lamb of God. “Lobotomy” definitely does establish the energy that Century brings with that, but the shorter track length feels like the band kind of wraps this song up as if it’s an introduction segment to the album, but that’s clearly not what it is. It doesn’t really go that far, and kind of ends prematurely. This isn’t the case on the rest of the release, and on the following track, “Synapse”, the listener is given a reprieve from the higher pitch screams and give more of a deeper shouter performance through much of the song, which is actually more the staple for the album. Another thing this track does a better job of introducing to the listener is the band’s more commanding authority, mostly thanks to those aforementioned groovey riffs. “Lobotomy” of course had them, but the song was more a burst of energy then anything commanding, and thanks to it’s speed, it does feel like the band does a good job of assaulting the listener with intensity, but they never seem to go back to this approach.

While a good majority of songs have that stronger groovey authority to them similar to “Synapse,”, and some a more energetic in-your-face approach like “Lobotomy,” there is a definite constant to these tracks. In the press release, one of the bands mentioned as to what members of this group were inspired by is the band Rage Against the Machine, and in many tracks you can definitely pick up on that influence. “Oak God” is really the first song to offer that sort of sound to the music, but it’s very minimal. The track actually focuses more on hooks and a Metalcore approach with some clean singing that feels tacked on which, sadly isn’t limited just to this track thanks to the higher pitched Axl Rose of Guns ‘n Roses vocal attempt on “Dry Bride” among other tracks on this release, and due to that aforementioned distortion the clean singing parts of the album are actually pretty hard to sit through. But, of all the songs, the track “Threats” carries the biggest similarity to the groovier sound of Rage Against the Machine, and even to the slower paced closing track “Iconoclaust.”

While the album has it’s faults, and sometimes you can pick out some of the inspirations to the group’s sound, Century still put together a strong album that bridges the melodic elements of Metalcore with the more intense and authoritive Hardcore attitude and sound. Red Giant is an enjoyable album, and it’s only major drawback is the cleaning vocals, which can be a little irritating. This release isn’t the most engaging, but it’s got an energetic performance that really does make it stand out a little more then it would, and the additional groovier elements definitely give the songs some catchier material to go with the Hardcore intensity, all meshing well with the addicting melodic elements of the recording. Century simply doesn’t fail to impress with this follow-up recording, and fans of the band will be pleased with Red Giant. Even those who haven’t heard of the band or their previous effort will find a good amount of solid material on here, that is they enjoy either of the aforementioned styles, or any of the similar acts mentioned in this review. If not, chances are good you won’t really be sucked in by much on this album other then it’s energetic output and more melody-driven passages.

01. Lobotomy – 2:48
02. Synapse – 3:15
03. Oak God – 3:48
04. My Lexicon – 3:40
05. Dry Bride – 3:11
06. Painting Leprosy – 3:13
07. In Hell – 3:56
08. Threats – 3:28
09. Obelisk – 3:08
10. Iconoclaust – 3:32
Overall Score: 8/10
Century (Band)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Prosthetic Records.