Forming in 2012 Downphase is a hard rock band who recently released a five-song EP entitled Facedown. The band consisting of Josh Campbell (guitar/vocals), Josh Grove (bass) and Brett Markovich (drums) is a straightforward contemporary, often commercially viable sounding, hard rock band. The music is often predictable, relying on a tried and true format that has worked for a lot of bands in the last decade or so.
The guitars have that tone that lies somewhere between Linkin Park and Evanescence. If you are looking for warm ‘70s crunch distortion you won’t find it here. Campbell has a good singing voice and it is usually covered in more than a healthy amount of reverb. The drumming is technically impressive throughout regardless if you dig this music or not. Markovich brings the pain and provides the energy as the bass provides a robust low end.
They kick off the EP with “Facedown,” which revolves around the distorted sustain of power chords and impressive drumming. Campbell’s vocals are fine throughout but he throws in a blood-curdling scream that comes out of nowhere. That scream has been ubiquitous with popular radio friendly hard rock acts for about fifteen years now and I really think it’s time to move on.
If you hear and like the first song there is little doubt in my mind that you will appreciate the rest of the EP. The remaining songs revolve around the same dynamics, guitar sound, vocal style, etc. This is a double-edged sword in my opinion. It makes the EP incredibly consistent and the audience will have specific expectations when it comes to future releases. The down side is that it can make the old forgotten experience of listening to an album or EP from start to end a bit stale.
I will say that for the genre they are playing they do it well. They can write a song and I’m sure there is an audience that will appreciate their sound. That’s all good but the reality is that the genre they are barking up has been well past its prime and is oversaturated. If Downphase wants to stick out for crowd that are going to have start thinking about how they can differentiate themselves from the thousands of other bands that sound remarkably similar. It’s food for thought but I think they built a decent foundation. Now they need to figure out what to build.
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