I predict a pile of tosh
Sometimes this jaded music hack sits and ponders to herself 'I wonder if I could review a CD without ever listening to it?' You see, sometimes just a bands name and a few song titles say everything you need to know. Let me give an example of my hypothesis; if at least five song titles use the words 'heart' and 'love' or pertain to be about those subjects by their obtuse song titles, you know you've hit across some kind of emo nonsense. So when I got the grand sounding 'Nodes of Ranvier' CD, you can guess what assumptions I made and turns out after listening, I was right...as always.
With bands trying to out metal each other at the moment, song titles like 'Wrathbearer' and 'Archgos' give an immediate indication of what you are going to encounter on "Defined by Struggle". Even the album title is a heavy pointer to the content. Have you guessed that the album would be predominantly expansive sounding metal with flourishes of hardcore and a bit of balls out, traditional rock? Yes? After a listen you will find that Nodes of Ranvier are unmistakably metal in style with tiny little flourishes of hardcore (it is on Victory Records after all) and a lil' bit of rock thrown into the pot.
Sounding like a place name on the Lord of the Rings, you can even guess the vocal style on offer by their name. Go on, have a guess. Did you guess a non-descript shout/scream voice which could belong to anyone from any metal band at the moment? If you did guess correctly; well done, give yourself ten bonus points. This is the trouble with music at the moment, as everything sounds the same and everything is executed to be like every other band in every way, there becomes little reason to listen to anything in the whole metal genre at the moment, as only disappointment awaits.
But to pay Nodes of Ranvier their dues, this isn't the worst album of its ilk this year as they do seem to do their thing relatively well, but to be brutal, this isn't doing anything that bands such as Lamb of God and Children of Bodom haven't already done. With the nature of music being so formulaic at the moment, you could easily write a computer programme to identify what a song will be like from its title alone. It would be the kind of thing that will also be able to identify key changes, breakdowns and lyrics to the millisecond in this climate of identikit sounding bands. I might even have to get the patent on that.