Conner Tomlinson

Promises Unsaid – "Revenge of the Smoothie King" | Single Review

Music Scene Media
Mar 15, 2024
2 min read

Promises Unsaid is building up momentum with the relentless new single, "Revenge of the Smoothie King." The Binghamton, NY 5-piece continues to bend, blend, and otherwise manipulate metalcore with fluency, passion, and modern pop flair. 

"Revenge" is the darker and edgier sequel to 2021's "The Smoothie King." No clean singing this time – vocalist Caleb Reynolds mines the depths of anxious depression and spits it out at the listener with rage and defiance over a ruthless mid-tempo metalcore instrumental. The seamless transition from screaming to rapping in the second verse is a reminder that both styles follow the same essential principle of flow: the sonic texture of the lyrics expressing a unity of rhythm and melody. It's why today's best harsh vocalists are taking lessons from hip-hop (I'll never get tired of tasteful triplet flows in -core music). Leaning into the shared traits is also what makes this nu-metalcore style so fun. 

Now that we've had a couple decades of reflection and the nu- prefix is nostalgic and no longer cringe, we can get back to what made nu-metal so effective in the '90s, which was this willingness to experiment and search for points of productive overlap between metal and hip-hop, metal and funk, metal and industrial, etc. My biggest critique of the single is that it could have gone further in integrating the diverse influences – the synths seem like a last-minute addition over the intro, outro, and breakdown rather than something essential that drives the music forward. Contrast this with their single "Mind Play" (which I reviewed back in 2022), where the synth loop, hip-hop grooves, and string arrangements work seamlessly with the music and elevate the song to a new level of theatricality.

While the listener bears witness to an emotional and musical beating, the music video depicts Reynolds taking a physical beating in a pro wrestling match. Shot by the band's usual collaborators at Seventhside Productions, performance footage is interspersed with suplexes, dropkicks, a vicious series of elbow strikes, and a neckbreaker finish. Pro wrestling is the perfect parallel to metal in its controlled brutality and its theatrics – an over-the-top and often absurd display of technical precision and skill. Once again, my only complaint is a lack of integration – this would have been the perfect opportunity to juxtapose the violence of a wrestling match with the visceral energy of a metal show, but the crowd seems content simply nodding their heads rather than bashing each others' in the mosh pit, which does a disservice to the sonic and emotional intensity of the song. 

As the band prepares to release and tour in support of their second studio album, hexbrew, later this year, this new single is a testament to the force of the band's vision. "Revenge of the Smoothie King" is out now on all platforms, and you can check out the video here



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