Arising from the turmoil of previous endeavors, the members of Issues have blown through the presuppositions of their band, and even their genre, into a glorious new entity. Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn left Woe Is Me in 2012, setting out to create a sound unheard of in the current scene. Lo and behold, we get a band now known as Issues. The lineup consists of Tyler Carter (clean vocals), Michael Bohn (vocals), Sky Accord (bass), Ty Accord (keyboard), AJ Rebollo (guitar), and Josh Manuel (drums). This group of talented individuals has garnered a mass following, and has been the centerpiece of the Rise Records roster since their inception. However, the band has seemingly become the center of quite a few bouts of drama since their formation. Their first single released in 2012 began a sort of “war” between themselves and their former band, Woe Is Me. With their recent release, Carter revealed the inspiration of the song “Personality Cult,” which he claims were his thoughts on frontman Matty Mullins (Memphis May Fire). I believe the tweet revealing this has since been deleted, but it stirred up some controversy nonetheless.
Drama aside, this album is a guaranteed exciting listen, from front to back. Issues has always proven to be a vocally driven band, combining elements of pop and metal. I was surprised to also hear guitar sections that reminded me of bands such as After The Burial and Atreyu. That just goes to show how diverse this band actually is, and how surprised you may be while listening to this release. Songs like “Stingray Affliction” and “The Settlement” hit heavy, while others like “Late” are more beat-driven and showcase Carter’s vocal abilities. The album begins with “Sad Ghost” a song potentially referring to a past relationship, but also delves into the the ability to overcome and change your life for the better.
I’ll write a letter to my former self / Dear sad ghost, why’d you put your heart on the shelf?
The album takes a pause at the halfway mark with an instrumental track titled “Old Dena (by Scout)” with a random recording of Ty Accord mixed in. This break leads into the first single released from the album, “Stingray Affliction”. It is a great culmination of what the band has been striving for since their first release, Black Diamonds (2012). The lyrics of “The Settlement” describe the emotional toll of a divorce, diving into yet another hard-hitting topic.
Until death, used to mean something more / Than a proverb framed on the walls of a broken home
This self-titled release helps to further define who the band is, and seems to me to be a step outside the mediocrity of most bands.
Now, avid readers of ChristCore.net may be wondering as to why we would cover a secular artist such as Issues, and the answer is not a simple one. As Christians, we are called to obey the Word of God and are taught to abstain from any worldly things. It is now a habit for some who call themselves “Christians” to judge, and never speak another word on the subject. I believe this to be a complete contradiction on who Jesus was, and what He preached. Personally, I have found that there are many aspects of “secular” life that can remind you of God, and bring glory to His kingdom. I do understand, however, that this is a touchy issue. It is important to note that there are minor yet explicit references and language in the album. Reflect on this issue, pray about it, and do as the Lord instructs.
That being said, this album is enthralling and will have you singing along quite a bit. Using influences from the metalcore scene and pop, Issues has put their best foot forward in creating something truly unique.