‘Heavy’ album review
genre: nu metal
release date: October 1, 2021
star rating: four out of five
review by Jeremy Costello
Relent injects some much-appreciated moxie and musical prowess into the sphere of Christian rock. Their newest album, titled Heavy, is an incredible mix of hard nu-metal music with all the fixings: heavy guitar riff intros, awesome bass kicks from their talented drummer Gaston Flores, well-timed dropped beats, and an intensity from vocalist Miguel “Miggy” Sanchez throughout, even as that intensity takes different forms in some of the slower tracks. But they spice it up with their rap/hip-hop flavor and keep the album feeling fresh from song to song.
Miggy has great vocal range, carrying higher notes strongly while bringing the swag and attitude with his rap sections. The rap, in particular, mixes incredibly well with the slowed down drop-beat sections (the bridges in “LOW” and “Ghost” are strong examples of this). I’ve personally never been a fan of feeling like I’m getting yelled at for an entire album, but he mostly avoids that feeling. Their titular song “Heavy,” for instance, has a relatively softer tone, which emanates a (no pun intended) heavier, more emotional weight to the lyrics. The theme of feeling the pressure that can come from all corners of life these days oozed through the bridge, which featured lighter notes and slower raps. Incredible song.
Lyrically, the band isn’t afraid to touch on tough subjects, such as the mind games going on in our heads, depression, and even prophetic themes like in the “Last Days” track. They offer simple, but clear commentary that undoubtedly will speak to many people depending on their personal situations, but they don’t take too many bolder, broader risks, though that actually can feel refreshing these days.
The opening track “Think You Got It” sets the tone with strong pacing and sweet guitar riffs. “Ghost” also kicks the pacing up a notch after the songs “Danger” and “LOW” rock out the speed a bit; Relent shows plenty of variety within the framework of their main style. “Heavy” was a much-needed change of pace to keep the album from overstaying its welcome, as was “Memories,” a much softer song with brief, hypnotic sections of lighter notes and an inviting tone that evokes far more of a personal attachment. Between dealing with the past and thinking of eternity, this song featured some of the strongest lyrics of the album.
Then there’s the track “Snakes,” which felt like it was straight out of the early 2000s – think P.O.D. but even more hyped up – in all the best ways. I couldn’t help but smile at the over-the-top lyrics of the verses (speaking of, the “two to the chest” lyrics in “Critical” also reminded me of P.O.D.). It’s definitely one of the most fun tracks of the album.
The musical talent is off the charts – Chris Castillo and Josh Paccione are excellent guitarists – though I was surprised there wasn’t any one track that cut a little looser with a sweet guitar solo or full-length musical interlude to let the music breathe a little more. I suppose most nu-metal bands I listen to don’t do that (I wish they would). Still, if I need to get pumped up for any reason, I know I can just pop in this album and ride with it from start to finish.