The Ongoing Concept "Places" Review

Words by Spencer Prather

With different genres of metal, “formulas” for each are typically made that bands follow. Some may think of the chugging guitars and breakdowns of metalcore, the intricate riffs/drumming of progressive metal; the list of trademarks for different genres can go on much further.

Listening to The Ongoing Concept, though, is a bit different; one can’t really put a name to it. Their soul-infused, almost country-influenced brand of heavy music has been distinctly made their own, with past works Saloon and Handmade helping them carve their place in heavy music; and even though “Originality, I give up” is a mantra we do hear on this newest effort, Places, Dawson Scholz and company have seemed to have perfected their brand of music even further, and it makes this a very fun record to listen to.

As the album fades out of the dreamy introduction title track sequence, things go right into the thick of it with the song “You Will Go”, bringing the punchy grooves and harsh vocals fans have come to know and love from The Ongoing Concept; listeners can already hear Scholz flourish in his new role assuming frontman responsibilities, with assistance from guitarist Andy Crateau on screams. The pace keeps up, with some head-bobbing bass work from Ian Nelson on groovy tracks like “Shake It” and “Domesticated”, Cody Rhodes’ fast-paced, intense drumming on tracks like “The Print” and “Owe Me”; this talented new cast behind The Ongoing Concept has, without a doubt, created a great collection of songs that music fans of many different genres can certainly jam to.

What’s most notable about this album, though, is the message being sent behind it. References to past works are strewn all about Places that longtime The Ongoing Concept fans will certainly appreciate (including a tirade from Dawson at the end of “The Print” referencing “Cover Girl”, one of their most popular tracks); past memories of the band are reminisced fondly, but as Scholz sings the resounding mantra of “The places you have been make you who you are”, he’s welcoming the new era of the band, embracing the coming changes; a certainly inspiring message behind it.

Understandably, leading up to the album there were some fears about how well this drastically-altered lineup would work together. Places, though, is undoubtedly a good old-fashioned The Ongoing Concept record, boasting a tracklist that current fans will love, and that will certainly create new ones. When looking for some fresh, original heavy music in the scene right now, make sure to buy Places, and their other albums as well; with all the difficulty the band’s encountered leading up to this release, a major breakout is certainly on the horizon.