The appeal of dubstep is the same appeal as deathcore – the drops. How can you deny the power of the mighty bass drop as you flail your body helplessly in the crowd?
There is more to life than bass drops and breakdowns. I remember when dubstep broke out in the US in 2010-2011, everyone thought it was the new music Cocain and that they could start making dubstep in their dorm room and get famous (guilty). What I, and a lot of others, did not understand at the time was that music needs to be more than one dimensional to have lasting appeal.
I have talked about The Browning before, I have actually seen them live at Indianapolis Metalfest where they were the second biggest band on the bill. I want you to understand that I don’t dislike their music, but I am not one to deny that they suck. A lot. It’s like enjoying a salad, but only if you put a lot of dressing on it, because it is bland and leaves a bad taste in your mouth afterwards.
Electro-deathcore, whatever you want to call this, has the same problem as dubstep, it is one dimensional. What I mean by one dimensional is that it only moves forward, in one direction, it is a straight line with no bumps in it. Even literally, if you imagine the music notes on the staff (or the tracks in the digital audio workstation) they won’t go up and down very much, but the notes and rhythms get more intense and close together as you approach the drop, then the rhythm is more open with emphasis on the downbeats. A one dimensional drop will only get you this far.
In EDM, sometimes you will hear a white noise backtrack get slowly raised in pitch until right before the drop to increase the tension to the listener even more than the quickening rhythm does. This would be two dimensional, as the buildup moves forward, but also up. The drop is then not only rhythmic, but also harmonic. When the drop returns to the root note after all that pitch bend it feels good, it adds to the effect. The Browning doesn’t even do that. This band completely and entirely relies on their buildup-breakdown formula and they have not even gone beyond the first dimension. Sometimes they don’t even build up at all, it just cuts off for a second and the vocalist screams something that is about 4 syllables, then breakdown again. And again. God this album was exhausting to listen to, always hoping for something different to happen only to lead into another one note break down. Once you listen to one song the album is essentially over. Slaves is probably the strongest song on the album, maybe that they have ever written, and only because of the use of exoticism with the cheesy Lydian modal chords that are often found in middle-eastern music.
There are two good things about this band, the quantity of songs, and BPS. The Browning has a relatively high amount of songs on their full lengths, even though it is just one song 13 times. Their BPS (breakdowns per song) is almost exactly 3, which makes for a lot of mosh pits at live shows. If the only factor you look for in music is quantity of breakdowns, look no further than The Brownings’ Hypernova, but that is why that one song (all of them) by The Browning SUCKS.