Can there be a level of passion so dedicated to music that eventually it’ll just wear itself down? I’d hate to admit it but at every point in a running life, eventually the muscles need to be refreshed. We play it in video game franchises, we watch them in movie trilogies, and we listen to them in consecutive albums. That’s the case I find with long-time favourite vocalist and musician Jonny Craig. The man known for applying the most soul-driven, clean vocals in some of the heavier rock bands in the post-hardcore genres.
Craig’s breakthrough into the music scene dates back as 2007 while displaying his uncanny vocal talent in the band Dance Gavin Dance and has since continued to awe the audience with his range in voice, his ability to write for different genres and to bridge the gap between listeners into and not into scream (he doesn’t scream, but is usually involved with bands that do screaming). I wont go into full detail, but between jumping from band to band, leading solo acts in between, getting into online scandals and eventually checking into rehab and cleaning up, Jonny has started a new band under the name “Slaves” to settle an undefined score with the music industry, telling his friends and fans that he’s still passionate about the music he makes, and that he’s a better being now. Let’s talk about Slaves’ debut album “Through Art We Are All Equals”.
The album is in fact a beautiful piece of art, filled with powerful lyrics, high emotional value through the atmosphere set by the instruments, has the right amount of headbanging moments and does in fact set straight what Jonny Craig wants to let us know. As a fan I am really happy to hear what has been released. On the flipside however, it’s easy to hear that JC is running out of new and catchy melodies. His hold is weakening. Maybe it’s the band’s collective composure, or maybe it’s Jonny’s exhausted experience, but to listen to Slaves’album in its entirety, it may seem like recycled material recomposed and relabeled as a new track, for the sake of filling an album.
Don’t get me wrong though, each song can stand as its own with confident strength, but place all eleven songs back-to-back and you might have trouble picking out when a song ends and begins. I could be harsh on the situation, so for now I’m leaving the opinion at a 50:50 feeling. I like it, but I also don’t like it. Even if you’ve never heard of the gentleman before or and of the several bands he’s left a mark in, I highly suggest giving Slaves a listen. The riffs may be heavy, but his vocals aren’t. I’ll have to listen to the album a bit more- I’m sure it’ll grow on me!