November 26, 2015

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Find Thirty 30 on SoundCloud.

Three years ago, I was treated to some great music by a band I had discovered on Twitter. Solid songwriting and musicianship encompassed the majority of their 2012 Ep "From The Fallout". The band was performing on a plateau that most independent heavy music bands choose to avoid, which is creating a collection of songs that wasn't just heavy, in your face metal, but also included songs that were mellow and a little more commercial without sacrificing the integrity of the artist. I believe Thirty 30 had the potential to become a force in the hard rock genre and enter the ranks of bands like Five Finger Death Punch and In This Moment. Then they disappeared.

Now, Thirty 30 is back with their first album that is sure to not only bring back fans of their previous efforts, but also rake in many new fans as well. With the release of this new 11 song Lp "House Of Plagues", San Diego's Thirty 30 seem poised to not only take over their so cal city, but also make an impact on modern metal as we see it today. Beginning with the opening track, also titled "House Of Plagues", Thirty 30 abandons their metalcore roots for a song that honors early 2000's metal. With a jumping groove and chugging guitars, Thirty 30 does not let up.

The second track on the album, "Press The Grain", sees the band not only return to their metalcore roots but also adds a punk rock flavor to the track as well. Next up is "The Author", the first of two epically arranged songs that harken back to Metallica's "...and Justice For All" days. "The Author" also shows Thirty 30's metalcore influence but adds a nice surprise in the middle of the song, a Latin flavored guitar solo courtesy of guitarist Albab Ahmed as it leads into a beautiful vocal solo performed excellently by Barnett.

"The Silence" has Thirty 30 moving into territory unexplored on previous efforts as this was the bands first traditional 'thrash metal' song. "The Silence" is one of my favorites on this album. I love the head spinning lead off riff and how well it matches with a chorus that'll be playing in my head for days. Guitarists, make sure to take notes as Albab Ahmed's solo will be sure to send you back to bedrooms to practice for hours.

"Saints" follows the "The Silence" up with its intensity and powerful grooves. The song has a traditional metalcore approach akin to bands like It Dies Today and Haste The Day, but again, the hooks stand out on this piece courtesy of Pownell and Barnett. An awesome breakdown with some very eerie choir elements makes this song a one of the standouts on the album.

Next on the list is "Behind Closed Doors" which employs keyboards and soundscapes to create a musical painting that stands out above the other heavier tracks. Barnett performs with such sincerity as the song comes off almost like a sing along ballad before Pownell breaks up the calamity during the middle of the track and returns us to the franticness that is the album. Hands down the best breakdown on the album followed by a shredding guitar solo from guitarist Anthony Esparza.
Now the album moves into a calmer tone with the intermission track "Cathedral Of The Scorned", an acoustic piece performed by Esparza. The piece is a delicate track that, in an album full of headbangers, is much needed.

The tone of the album changes here as well. Thirty 30 begins to mature adding textures of acoustic guitars to their music. "Away From Home" follows up "Cathedral", and it is the most different song on the album. Featuring Jay Edwards of Big Goat and The Suicide Chords, "Away From Home" begins with a strumming acoustic guitar and then explodes into some groove temped rock. One the bands Facebook, they have said that the song was inspired by The Deftones, and it's no wonder how. Barnett performs a duet with Edwards on the track, both vocalists adding their own touch to the song. It's a beautiful piece that will be one of the tracks on the album in which I will be listening to daily.
After "Away From Home", Thirty 30 enters mainstream rock territory with "Find My Way (Come Alive)".

This is also a mature track for a band that utilizes breakdowns and aggressive screaming into their music. When comparing the song to music by other artists, it sounded like a great blend of In This Moment and Hellyeah. Barnett carries the song with an atmospheric verse and a chorus meant to be sung in a stadium. Pownell also has his moment on the track as well, inducing such much needed aggressiveness into a song built on a softer touch. "Find My Way" is more of a rocker than a headbanger, and although the song does not feed my taste for heavier music, it is a much needed track on an album that relies on intensity.

Finally, Thirty 30 closes the album with the final two songs of the album, the first being "Live Again", an epic composition clocking in at 6:17. The song moves from heavy guitars and guttural vocals to stoner rock, another territory Thirty 30 has previously yet to enter. However, with its Metallica drones and Lamb Of God styled guitars, "Live Again" shows off the bands talent for songwriting as well by transitioning to a quiet, classical guitar middle section. After a nice groove with acoustic guitars and pianos, Esparza and Ahmed perform splendid guitar solos, each spotlighting a different characteristic in their playing.

And the final track of the album, a tearjerking closer titled "The Bat & The Moon". This was an old piece from Thirty 30's previous Ep that has obviously been revamped for the better. Barnett is the star of this piano ballad track, carrying the song with a smooth tone but still able to infuse power within what seems at first to be a quiet piece but builds into a rock powerhouse. Barnett, as well as Ahmed's excellent guitar solo, are the standout performances on the track.

Thirty 30's new album "House Of Plagues" is an excellent effort from a band that seems to have tendured hardships in the last few years. It is not a return to form but rather an evolution of what was left over. "House Of Plagues" is a testament to everything the band stands for when it comes to songwriting, musicianship, lyricism, and performance. Thirty 30 has always stood out from their metal peers in the San Diego area, but with the release of "House Of Plagues", it's seems the band will become the next throne holders of San Diego Rock and Metal music.


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