Jared Dines and Matt Heafy collaborate on a brand new EP called Dines X Heafy which released on the 4th December via Roadrunner Records.
Dines shot to fame on social media becoming everyone’s favourite Instagram/Facebook/YouTube guitarist. Heafy became a star in the old way. Fronting Trivium, they worked hard, toured, got signed to a label, got hammered by the media and still kept going. We all have our opinions on what is “the right” or “wrong” way but the reality is that modern music now requires musicians who are more than adept at their craft and their ability to market themselves well over social media channels. Dines is obviously an expert at that and Heafy isn’t too bad either having a hugely popular Twitch channel with regular streamed content to keep his fans aware and keen.
The purpose of this EP though was to try and show a collaboration working between big band musicians and Instagram musicians. To show two people with different musical educations can come together and form something exciting and impactful. I’m not sure any of us particularly need this proven to us but, okay. Maybe Jared can explain it better.
“Matt was pre-internet in the way he launched his career, releasing records, playing shows, and signing to a label. I’m post-internet in the way I launched my career by using YouTube, Facebook, and all of these other video apps. It is interesting to see the crossover though. Matt has done everything traditionally. At the same time, he embraced new technologies instead of shutting them out. By doing this together, we get to be in both worlds”.
The collaboration brings us 5 new tracks on an EP that weighs in at around the 21 minute mark. To be blunt it’s a pretty tepid affair. A mixed bag with a few bangers and a few snoozers. The EP opener, Dear Anxiety, starts things off with flair and promise. A good riff matched by some guitar virtuoso styled harmonised leads. It’s good. The verses bring in Matt’s recognisable vocals for a heavy enough verse followed by a catchy clean chorus. It’s good and blends the modern social media born Dines with Heafy’s more traditional musical upbringing. The promise of track 1 doesn’t hold for long though.
Can We Turn Back Yesterday? Comes next and while it isn’t a bad song at all, it lacks a bit of spark. The mid tempo rhythms give it a bit of groove at times and there are some decent guitar lines, some good rock riffing etc….Nothing bad but is feels an idea short of being a good song, feeling constantly like a song that is building towards something huge but never quite reaching it.
Dying at The Sight of the Rain has a dramatic title and a great intro with a catchy rhythm and some nice leads. I don’t like the rap styled vocal parts at all though and while the finger tapping is cool, the chorus is flat and uninspired. It picks up a bit near the end with a better crunchy riff and stronger vocals but they are ruined by the forcing in of some guitar squeals that sound like they are meant to be anywhere other than on this track. With two very average tracks in a row, I was worried about moving on with the next, To Save Me From Myself. Thankfully it brings back the quality. The intro solo is great and I love the tapping drums.
The vocals are catchy and nice and diverse as they move between verse, bridge and chorus. The chorus is good with some nice harmonies on the vocals. I even like the Slipknot like speed vocals at the end. Much better.
So we reach the final track with the score at 2-2 in regards to like and dislike so far. We Lost It All will be the decider and it starts well enough with a bit of a weird tone on the guitar tapping out a catchy rhythm. The vocals in the verse are great as the track gently builds up introducing more backing vocals and more pace. The chorus drops and is ……okay. I like the shouted section after the chorus though and the track does have a really good solo too. Much like the whole release, the ending track doesn’t really definitively prove anything, sitting in the “okay” bracket, and ultimately being a bit disappointing.
So the collaboration no one outside of Twitch wanted turns out to be a luke-warm release with a couple really great ideas turned into strong songs and a few bland and uninspiring efforts. There is probably enough here to make die hard Matt/Jared fans happy enough for a while but not for long. I’m a fan of Matt and Trivium and I can’t see myself listening to 3 out of these 5 songs again any time soon.
Still, as always you should really give it a go for yourself. It isn’t a disaster. The two good tracks are very good and the 3 average tracks still have little moments in them. It might be just what you are looking for.
Dines X Heafy is out now on all the usual streaming platforms. You can grab a copy from here. It has also been added as a soundtrack on Twitch allowing users to add licensed music to their streams.
Dines X Heafy by Jared Dines and Matt Heafy (Roadrunner Records)
The Final Score - 6.5/10