Concordia – Clarity of Perception
Concordia is a fresh, new five-piece hard/alternative rock band that originated in Cleveland, Ohio in late 2011. Concordia is a testament to just how varied and innovative bands in the hard rock spectrum can be. In one sense, this band is a pure driving force of melodic sounds and instrumentals, but they do so in a way that is powerful and adrenaline pumping all the same. I consider them to be a soft, melodic band with the energy and vigor of a metal band. It can be so rare nowadays to find a band with that uplifting “feel good” melodic sound, but with backing edginess and adrenaline that gets your blood flowing in the process.
Concordia’s debut release, Clarity of Perception, opens up with the track “Spoon-fed Sheep.” This was rightly chosen to be the opening track because it is easily one of the best if not the best on the album and it will likely be one of the defining landmarks for the band. This is my favorite track due not only to its harmonious vocals and a sound not all that dissimilar to Linkin Park (particularly vocalist Eric Emery’s striking similarity to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington), but also because of the lyrics and the song’s overall pronouncing message.
The song, as evidenced by the lyrics, is largely political. The song deals with the idea of our government’s controlling, manipulating and lying to us while covering up their own vices. After a good keyboard opening, the song soon delves into the first set of lyrics that had my hooked on the song from the start. “Details of the crimes are never found. Secrets, all the lies are disavowed. Photos burned to hide the protected. While our freedom’s rejected.” I can really level with and understand these lyrics and this, along with the fluid instrumentals, really get me fired up and ready to rally behind the band’s beliefs. This opening song did an exemplary job at showing listeners what the band is capable of and how they use their melody blended with raw power to express impacting topics and emotions through their lyrics.
The next song, “Surrender”, is a song that delves into a one-sided relationship. One-sided in the sense that one partner is making all the sacrifices while it is always never enough for the other. This song also ranked toward the top as far as my favorite songs on this album goes. It had catchy choruses and riffs, fiery, emotional lyrics and a sound that made this one of the heavier, edgier songs on the album.
“White Horse” slows pace from the first two songs, but still contains that signature Concordia sound of blending melody with thrashing drive, particularly in the choruses. I really praise the band’s ability to shift so drastically from softness and melody to launching into a thrashing, angrier chorus.
“2-U” was slightly heavier yet still versatile song like “White Horse”. The song and lyrics focus on the idea of unrequited love and a relationship that isn’t working. I liked how toward the middle of the song, it changes pace and shifts to a solemn chorus before reviving its former vigor and picking up speed and powerful riffs again toward the end.
“EOTW” is a slower-paced acoustic song that puts more of an emphasis on melody rather than energy. The title is an acronym for “End of the World”, which is the song’s key theme along with the idea of loneness. The song had some powerful lyrics and an emotional, moody feeling of sorrow along with it, however, I felt that it was lacking in the energizing backbone that supported the earlier tracks. It’s still an easy-going song that makes a good addition to the album, however.
“The Calling” picks up pace again and rejuvenates the faster-paced melodic power of songs like “Spoon-fed Sheep” and “Surrender.” This song too was one of my favorites because of its uplifting chorus, up-beat riffs and inspirational lyrics. The song’s title is a literal meaning for finding one’s destiny or calling, and that a person is meant for better things than just the ugly superficialities of life.
“Ghost of You” was another emotional song dealing with relationships and the idea of someone being fearful of loneliness but also scared to give their heart to someone else. The choruses, like most of the songs of the album, were easily the most addictive aspects of the song and really exemplified the tearful emotion of the song.
“Sorry for Now” was my second favorite song on Clarity of Perception next to “Spoon-fed Sheep”. Instrumentally, the song was very powerful, with pounding guitar riffs and an overall sound that I myself related somewhat to that of Chevelle, particularly their hit single “The Red”. The song lyrically seems to deal with the idea of a sundered family, as shown through the catchy and emotional lyrics in the chorus and throughout. Toward the end, the following lyrics during a slower-paced verse really caught on and made the song stand out for me. “This is not the way I thought it would end for me. Didn’t know I would poison my family tree. Despite my efforts to stop the pain, my arms still can’t hold in the shame.” The aggressive tones of this song combined with the clever lyrics made this a personal treat for me on this album.
“Edge of the Sky” was another slow-paced song that nonetheless had a catchy, positive sound to it that was uplifting and a welcome, relaxing addition to the album. Its mellow, easy-going feel made it stand out amongst the other songs that were more pronouncing and thrashing.
“Was It Worth It?” was another song that went into a failing relationships. The song had an emotional feel and decent lyrics and instrumentals, but I found that it wasn’t quite as unique as many of the other songs before it. Concordia, I feel, really shines when it blends melody with aggressive undertones, but I found that this one was simply melody but without the energy or clever lyrics in songs before it.
The final song of the album, “Hubris” ends Clarity of Perception on a purely melodic note. The transition between a gradual, slower feel that goes into a pronouncing, more aggressive chorus was good. The lyrics were also lacking a little bit more in this song overall. However, the instrumentals and chorus made up for it in the end.
Clarity of Perception was honestly one of the most entertaining albums I’d listened to in recent memory. I’m always a sucker for catchy, intellectual lyrics; and I believe that this was one of the draw-ins for my throughout the album. The good riffs, instrumentals and vocal talents that were familiar yet vastly unique were also contributing factors in giving Concordia a revolutionary sound. I foresee Concordia becoming a real figurehead for melodic hard rock in the future and I look forward to exploring their debut album again religiously.Concordia - Clarity of Perception,