ProjeKT - Toxicada - EP Album Review - Modern Alternative Deathcore from Baltimore, Maryland, USA

ProjeKT - Toxicada - EP Album Review - Modern Alternative Deathcore from Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Projekt - Toxicada - Album Review - Modern Alternative Deathcore from Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Another mystical Thursday here in the northern town of Helsinki, a typical winter day with unmelting snow covering the streets. Today, I am writing about a passion project, ProjeKT, hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, and featuring their latest EP release, Toxicada, released not long ago on February 25, 2024.

ProjeKT, Hard Rest (Official Audio), off from Toxicada album, released: February 25, 2024.

About a week ago, I was introduced to ProjeKT for the first time with their most recent release, a project of American artist Travis Klein, accompanied by Jack Fawdry and a female vocalist on this album. I gave it a listen numerous times during this week in different places, moods, and through different mediums to uncover as much as I could.

First and foremost, the Toxicada album represents the work of an artist at the beginning of his journey in the professional music scene, as he actually is. In fact, ProjeKT on their Bandcamp page has three preceding releases so far; Divinations (2022), Soul (2022), and Somewhere Far Away (2023), but only Somewhere Far Away is included in their Spotify discography together with Toxicada.

The album stood out to me for the foundational work that ProjeKT showcased, a concept that incorporates modern and post-modern soundscapes with the 2000s groove, alternative metal, and modern djent, progressive metal, and deathcore influences in its origins. The fusion ProjeKT experimented is supported by their individual performances, offering varied structures, sometimes in complex and progressive ways, while at other times being faithful to the main idea. The songs maintain the ProjeKT concept while also managing to be entirely different from each other, which also gives us a hint about the artist's effort in exploring different territories, searching for his true identity and sound. After spending a week experiencing this EP album from start to finish, my favorite song is the second track, Hard Reset, which was also the standout moment for me, involving their best ideas, performances, as well as a fresh-sounding musical language and a captivating climate.

Musically, the album mainly involves heavy and extreme metal elements where you get to hear vocal performances reminiscent of death growling/deathcore. I remember hearing influences of Ghostemane with his avant-garde approach to post-modern soundscapes, as well as Korn and other acclaimed names from the 2000s metal scene. Travis Klein, who is the lead vocalist as well as the guitarist and composer, shows potential with his ability to sing both in growling to an extent almost reaching the high notes in black metal, also offering listeners moments of breathing with his ability to accompany songs in melodic moments. In my view, his vocals were one of the indispensable elements in this music where the producer also chose to highlight and follow his lead.

Instrumentally, the album is generally led by modern drop-tuned monstrous guitars that were highly produced and preferred modern metalcore and djent tones. Almost all songs were heavily built with metal instrumentation of bass, guitars, and drums, also being accompanied by post-modern ambient elements, pads, electronic, and even cinematic ideas, which broaden their concept from being qualified as a known or familiar musical subgenre.

Production-wise, as mentioned earlier, the album consistently blends highly produced sounds under a modern metal umbrella, where ProjeKT sounded most comfortable and consistent to me during my listenings. While I am not a big fan of computerized sounds, it has the necessary quality to reflect what they are trying to achieve in terms of sound design and characterization.

ProjeKT, Travis Klein artist photo. Credit: Unknown.

On the other side of the coin, while having a clear picture of what ProjeKT is trying to achieve in terms of musical concept and sound, I also have to admit that I am not entirely convinced by the production standards of this album. It is no secret that the sound quality of Toxicada is nowhere near reflecting the true potential of the band, rather a demonstration, a step forward in their way to development, which is understandable. Other than matters that involved sound production, I have no weaknesses or confusing moments to mention.

ProjeKT, band art. Credit: Unknown.

In conclusion, it has been a pleasure discovering ProjeKT with Toxicada, which reflects a meaningful moment in their careers as an up-and-coming project, catching my interest with all the pure and passionate intentions it comprises. Modern deathcore accompanied by the 2000s alternative, groove metal with highly produced modern soundscapes stands out for the pure and passionate energy encapsulated within. Thank you for reading.

ProjeKT - Toxicada album front cover artwork. Art credit: Unknown.

ProjeKT members:

Travis Klein: vocals, guitars
Jack Fawdry: drums, bass, guitars

ProjeKT on the Web:

6 track album
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