Social Recluse is a four-piece heavy rock/metal band hailing from Cleveland, Ohio. They formed in 2008, released a demo in 2010 and in 2015 released their self-titled LP Social Recluse. It’s a sludgy, heavy sounding album that sounds more influenced from bands from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s rather than contemporary metals. That’s a plus for me.
The production of the album is above that of a demo but below of what you would expect from a professional studio. I have to say the guitars and bass sounded good but the two glaring problems were the snare drum and the dynamics of the vocals. The snare drum sounded too thin and needed more girth and low end. As far as the vocals go some fader riding or proper compression would have helped out when he sang over the mix or his words got buried. The most unusual part about the recording quality is that it changes almost from song to song during the second half of the album.
The lead singer Dan has what you could call a unique vocal style. Sometimes he sounds like he wasn't fully pronouncing but stringing together the words and I was struggling to figure out the lyrics. One example of this was “Another Revolution” where I for the life of me couldn’t make out the lyrics. It actually reminded me of Gordon Lightfoot in a weird way.
There were other times where it worked more to his advantage like on the first track “Social Recluse.” He voice is basically monotone during the verse as he follows the guitar melody but it worked out well. The singer has a similar type of delivery on “Vagabond.” He sings, “Face to face with a wall / Read the writing and sighed / At how the world we know is coming down.”
“Envision” is what you could consider a ballad but also is oddly underwhelming production wise comparatively to the other songs. “As The Sky Rains Down” is the highlight of the album. Suffice it to say - most fans of heavy rock will enjoy this one. The delivery and production is clearly improved on this song and it kind of made me wonder why. It’s also contains the best vocal performance. The album closes with “Rise of The Jester” which is about 4 dbs softer than “As The Sky Rains Down” which could have be rectified if the album was properly mastered.
Social Recluse is a hit and miss album in a number of ways. It's more of the former than the latter but still could have benefited from some tweaking of corners. I’m glad these guys finally got out their first release.
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