Released on Bandcamp on Friday 7 April 2023.
For fans of Behemoth, Strapping Young Lad, Suicide Silence, Alphawolf
The Balance of Everything (2023) is the second album from Josh Freeman’s There’s Only One Elvis project, based in Grove Hill, Alabama in the south of the United States.
Meet Joshua Freeman, a talented metal musician who is known for his unique and captivating music style. Josh has been playing music since he was a child and has always had a passion for heavy metal music. Josh’s dedication to his craft is evident in the countless hours he spends in his home studio, meticulously perfecting every aspect of his music. He is constantly experimenting with new sounds and techniques, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in metal music. Josh’s passion for metal music is infectious, and his dedication to his craft serves as an inspiration to aspiring musicians everywhere. He continues to write and record music, always pushing himself to new heights and exploring the boundaries with his project There’s Only One Elvis.Press release
There are two moments in this release that got me excited: the introduction to the first track, and the final track. And while there were a few beautiful moments in the four tracks in between, sadly, the majority of this album didn’t completely speak to me.
The first 30 seconds of “Modus operandi” (track 1) has an ominous, industrial, Slipknot feel to it. This was what attracted me to this album when I first heard it. When I’m triaging the 200 or so emails I get per month, I quickly listen to the embedded videos and select my favourites. I heard this introduction and immediately shortlisted the album for review.
The thing is, the introduction to this first track on the album is absolutely not indicative or representative of the album as a whole. The introduction to this first track on the album is indicative and representative of the introduction to this first track on the album.
After 30 seconds, an extended drum fill draws a line between two completely different styles and we’re left with a lurching, heaving, almost lo-fi wall of noise and shouting.
Which extends to “Presence” (track 2), which is barely recognisable from the opening track. Save the cool, chugging intro.
“Stratera” (track 3) slows things down a little and is built around a pleasant little riff that in places reminds me of Godflesh. The percussion beneath feels almost random—I know, it’s isn’t—but it creates an anxiety-inducing tension.
Another stellar riff opens “Vestiges” (track 4). Guttural, throaty vocals weave between this slow, steady and brutally heavy onslaught of guitars, bass and understated, simple but absolutely necessary percussion. There is something almost soothing about this track.
“Recoil” (track 5) opens with an ear-shattering, screeching riff before it crawls off into the depths like many of its predecessors.
Similar to the introduction to the opening track, “Sun massacre” (track 6) goes in a completely different direction. A bass and guitar riff bounces along, providing an unusually melodic foundation around which Freeman’s other musical explorations can dance. There is tension, there is drama, this track takes you on a interesting journey that I didn’t experience with the other tracks.
As with many albums, the more I listened, the more I heard—I slowly got used to the darkness and could make out familiar shapes. There were some beautiful moments scattered throughout the release, particularly the opening thirty seconds and the largely unrepresentative final track. I found this release takes time and effort to appreciate, but it still fell somewhat short of the mark for me. But your mileage may vary. I guess, in the end, it’s hard to balance everything.
Review score: 65%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview There’s Only One Elvis forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or There’s Only One Elvis. I’m not being paid to review this, but I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to There’s Only One Elvis for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.