Review: Like Animals – Feral

Math metal band Like Animals brings us their latest effort with Feral. Feral is a 20 minute long album with 5 spastic tracks. They have a few animal-themed EPs released before Feral, so the song titles fit right in. Head to their Facebook to drop a like then pick up Feral on Bandcamp, iTunes, and CD Baby!

To get this review started I’ll try to clear up the math metal definition. If you like music similar to that of Fall of Troy, Dance Gavin Dance, Dillinger Escape Plan, and even Protest the Hero then you will probably enjoy Like Animals. Like Animals is not as heavy as Protest the Hero and Dillinger Escape Plan most of the time, but you can hear resemblance in the playing styles. I’m a fan of nearly all of the bands I just listed; I think their use of clean vocals blends well with high-pitched melodies and leads. The vocals on Feral do the same, but they seem kind of stacked on the rest of the band. Obviously this isn’t the bands fault at all, it’s just the mixing and etc. The vocals resemble that of Johnny Craig era Dance Gavin Dance the most out of the others on the list. When the harsh vocals come in they don’t sound as stacked and dominant. That’s how they should be. It’s rather unfair how the dominant the clean vocals are, especially on “Feral.” On that first track the clean vocals are in your face, yet the instruments sound like they are hiding behind it. Anyway there’s plenty to enjoy on Feral so let’s get to it.

The guitar and bass work is done rather nicely. I think the bass tone is great: it’s warm, not too trebly, has mids present, and doesn’t sound like it has filters over it. I love when the basslines are as present as they are in Feral because it gives a whole new world of undertone to songs, like in “Feral.” After a good portion of it, the bass rumbles along almost being a hidden leader of everything while acting as a follower. “Feral” moves up and down a few times. During the down times the drums do a slick job of being loudly idle. That meaning they are relatively quiet with some cymbal/tom hits for accompanying accents to other things. The up moments are pretty fun; those are when the harsh vocals take over, the bass and guitar work together, and the drums have more fun.

Things pick up more with “The Lion’s Share.” The bass and guitar seemed to have switched roles for some time. I say that because the bass plays an innovative riff while the guitar plays a repeated melody, except when some quick licks are thrown in of course. The vocal dominance isn’t as bad in “The Lion’s Share,” but it is still louder than everything. My favorite track on Feral is “Caterwaul.” It’s kind of similar to “The Lion’s Share” in how it picks things up and the way the guitar plays along, but they are ultimately two very different songs. I think I just like how quickly “Caterwaul” gets into the meaty parts then eases up on you.

The bass/guitar role play deal is a bit more involved on “Lounge Lizard.” There are times where the bass leads and others where the guitar leads. I notice the guitar takes charge during sections with unclean vocals, but the bass still makes itself known. The drums also usually play something funky (not as in the style of playing) to match what’s happening.

“The Jungle Book of Love” has a lot going on and really shows that Like Animals is a math metal/progressive styled band. It does have a jungle-ish vibe at times, if a jungle were organized enough. The guitar playing changes to scratchy leads to meatier sounding riffs and back again. There is a slight tonal change to accommodate the lead change. It’s all done right and cleanly. It’s also a great final track to an album.

Alright so I really enjoyed the bass and guitar relationship on Feral. It makes Feral unique and an interesting listen. Feral is a good short album, it really is, but the vocal layering is like a stab in the gut, especially on “Feral.” The song is a good opener by its up and down nature, but the vocals were are so clear loud it hits your ears like a brick wall and makes the music sound louder than it is. Either the other instruments need to be turned up or the vocals turned down. Other than that, the vocals were great and fit in with the genre. The instrumentation was nice and tones were nice. I still recommend checking Feral out!

Rate: 7.4/10

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