"Unknown is the human plight." Are you an avid metalcore listener but feel like all the mainstays' new releases blend together? Then Tampa Bay metalcore group Chasing Airplanes has something for you. With Kaleidoscopes, released on October 13th, they flipped the Djent sound on its head. I have never heard a djent song and wondered, "What if The Midnight wrote this?" Yet, it is this line of thinking that makes Chasing Airplanes unique.
I must provide context before we begin with this review. Chasing Airplanes was primarily known as a by-the-numbers Djent band with electronic influences, having released their Debut EP, Gnosis, in 2022. I am reluctant to say this publically, as these guys are friends, but there was very little unique about their old sound; with Kaleidoscopes, that changed.
Kaleidoscopes begins with "Obsidian." This is a tough track for me to put my finger on, making it my least favorite track on the album. The song runs in place a bit, and it is hard to find the message. I had to start with my only negative of the album as a build-up to everything that makes this release tremendous.
"Pink Trans Am" is one of the coolest songs I have heard, regardless of genre. Something about it makes me reminiscent of a time when I was not even alive. Every verse, hook, and chorus is beyond-catchy. I have had this track stuck in my head every second since the single was released on August 18th. My only complaint is that the harsh vocals/breakdown take away from the song's vibe. I wonder if a cool synth breakdown or transition would have been better.
"Red" is another standout from the album. It has every aspect of what Chasing Airplanes does well. I noticed that they have a signature pause/pull-off during the guitars of various points in the album. I find this super satisfying, and it is not something I often hear. The production of Kyle Jeffcoat's vocals during the chorus is just chef's kiss.
I may be biased because I am obsessed with space and the stars, but "Constellations" is an incredible track. Using astronomy as alliteration is fun and just tickles my brain. The wordplay and lyrics are superb and make you think. This track is another example of a chorus that hits way harder than expected. Do not say I did not warn you.
"Lost in the Snow" is one of the most beautiful tracks I have ever heard. By far my favorite track by Chasing Airplanes so far. It is an electronic-focused song but still has some of that djent flavor they are known for. Guitarist and Producer Jake Hodges' production allows this song to shine brightly. "Viridescent" is a song in a similar vein that immerses you like an old film. I have not watched this movie in at least 15 years, but the song brought me back to my first time watching The NeverEnding Story.
"Pixels" is the album's final track and a perfect conclusion to a fun and satisfying journey. Chasing Airplanes took everything they had done well in the previous seven tracks and morphed it into a truly perfect farewell. According to Jeffcoat, "Pixels" was intended to be an instrumental track, but he could not help but hear vocals over it. This lends well to the album's "Pink Trans Am" and "Pixels" instrumental versions to conclude the playthrough. I typically never listen to instrumental tracks, but I could not recommend these more.
At this part of my listening journey, I can rarely say I have heard something truly new. Yet, with Kaleidoscopes, Chasing Airplanes provided an album that I simply cannot get enough of. The best part of Kaleidoscopes is seeing Kyle Jeffcoat no longer hiding behind the music's heaviness and instead allowing the world to hear what he has to say with full vulnerability—a truly beautiful effort.
Listen to Kaleidoscopes:
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