Project Archives: Choice By Design | Astoria
Las Vegas, Nevada (USA)
Choice By Design
# of Songs:
Steven Jackson – Vocals
James Hartman – Guitar
Corey Owens – Bass
Glenn Cwikla – Drummer
February 1st , 2019
Hard Rock, Metal Mashup
Spotify, Itunes, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube
Into The Pit Ranking –
Writing: 4.2/5 –
Writing style is desirebly catchy in it’s melody arrangement. The delivery of the vocals align lyrical phrases to the rhythmic pocket masterfully. Lyrical content is rich with meaning and experiences, ideally catering to a multitude of listening demographics. Background and supporting vocals are executed well in the realms of phrasing and tonality. Scream tracks were laced throughout the project and vastly out performed the clean vocal tracks even in their rarer appearances. Prioritizing the metal performance alongside the progressive vocal performance could’ve inherently enhanced the musical experience for the listeners.
Production: 3.8/5 –
The production of Choice By Design was ever-changing, boding well in keeping the listener engaged. Overall this is a high tempo project, but mid and slower tempo tracks were performed to taste as well. Vocal samples utilized added an entertaining element to the production. Electric guitar effects were a decent enough replacement for synthetic instrumentation, especially in transitional moments. Noticeable fluctuations in timing present themselves amidst melodic phrasing throughout the project. Timing discrepancies are usually present between the guitar and drum performances and occasionally on layered vocals. The use of alternating time signatures displayed the musical proficiency of Astoria, showcasing top tier artistry. Overall all this LP properly translates the talented production of Astoria to it’s listener while leaving plenty of room to grow through future projects.
Mix: 3.7/5 –
The mix of Choice by Design was competently performed from a citic’s standpoint. The most favored element was the mix and stereo spread of the guitar. Most aspects of the drum kit translated well between listening devices. Aspects of the drum mix that fell short was the over compression of the snare drum on most tracks and the piercing upper frequency hit in the “beater” of the kick drum. Vocal-wise the best mixed elements were the metalcore screams when they presented themselves in the music. The cleaner more progressive tone often sounded a little dry and over the top of the musical landscape. Harmonic layers and background vocals added positively to the atmosphere but alone, the lead vocal felt out of pocket more often than not. For future projects, prioritizing the musical use of vocal effects on the lead could enhance how well it translates overall.
Master: 4.2/5 –
The master of Choice By Design is more than acceptable for a band at this stage in their career. This master provides the listener with energy and fullness, complementing the production and writing style of Astoria. The master effectively translates between most listening devices enabling for a greater reach amongst fans. There is a desirable warmth in the upper mid bandwidth, but it seems to drop in the low mid through the sub frequencies. A focus on low end enhancement in future projects could help the master translate better on larger playback systems.
Areas for growth would be finding the proper musical balance between the progressive vocal style and the metalcore style of delivery. Tightening up timing between melodic and rhythmic elements will enhance listener experience as well. Mix-wise, finding the proper mix for the progressive tone, whether it be adding new vocal effects, a different vocal mic, new compression settings, as long as the vocal is in the sonic pocket. Less compression on the drum set will provide a more natural percussive feel.
Great performance as a whole. Lyrical content is engaging with an excellent balance between simplicity and complexity. Astoria proficiently displayed diverse production on many fronts, showcasing their musical depth of . Great use of sound clips and transitional instrumental effects. Metal based production a vocal features were industry quality and should be explored more in tandem with the more progressive rock side.
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