After their 2011 album, The Fight of Our Lives, it seemed like Knoxville, Tennessee’s Straight Line Stitch were on to a brighter future. They had a record deal with eOne and a slot on 2011’s Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival alongside acts like Machine Head, Suicide Silence and Unearth. Most metal bands would agree that that’s a sweet launching pad.
And then the momentum slowed a bit. Multiple lineup changes came and went with vocalist Alexis Brown being the sole mainstay. But in their defense, Straight Line Stitch are still in the hustle. They have a new EP, Transparency (Pavement Entertainment), and as of this writing are hitting the road with Ill Niño for the Civil Unrest Tour.
The good news is that Transparency will not disappoint longtime followers of Straight Line Stitch. From a production standpoint it sounds crisp and clear. Musically it checks off all the metalcore genre boxes.
This is good for the faithful, but for the rest of us it leaves a bit to be desired.
Songs like ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Wilderness’ have an In Flames circa Come Clarity crunch to them that I enjoyed, but most of the time they’re drawing from the same well. While not a boring release, it’s not great when you have a 22 minute running time and most of it just blurs together.
However the strong suit here are Brown’s vocal talents, particularly ‘Out of Body’ and ‘Human Bondage’ providing a great showcase for her pipes. We’ve had metalcore belters attempt the melodic hook thing since (what seems) like the dawn of time. Folks like Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall have had much success with this approach. While others (Atreyu, All That Remains, Today is the Day, et al) not so much. Brown’s natural singing voice belongs with the former, it’s just a matter of her band providing some diversity in their compositions.
If they can do that, then they’re well on their way to reclaiming their blue chip prospect status in the metal hierarchy.