Jordan Coffey stepped out of his comfort zone, and right into the metal zone on his latest album, Moonrise. A solo artist from central Maine, he refers to himself as a “one man band,” and that still doesn’t give him enough credit. Other than supplementary vocals, provided by DJ Cox on the second track, Witch Hunt, Coffey is responsible for all instruments, vocals, and even mixed and mastered the album. Judging by the artwork displayed in his company Coffey Media’s portfolio, I would even be willing to bet he designed the album artwork. This kid is a serious combination of talent and dedication. Coffey’s Facebook states his experience over in various bands created a sound that is both “unique and nostalgic,” and that is exactly what Moonrise delivers.
Right off the bat the first track “The Darkest Depth” attracts the listener with an ominous, but equally intriguing introduction. Coffey’s vocals are very strong as he screams “don’t leave me alone, alone, alone.” This is a good way to start the album, because as the lyrics progress, you will figure out he in fact should not be left alone. The track comes in fast and heavy, and coming from an artist that states Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday as some of their influences, it was quite a surprise.
The second track, Witch Hunt, has a groovy guitar beat that immediately caught my attention. Coming from someone who prefers dancing over running in circles, this is the type of metal song that will get me up dancing. While Coffey does not hold back on his vocals, it is the melody in the guitar parts that stands out. It is a refreshing change from the all too predictable foot to face style you normally see in local metal bands (although he does say he will “reach down your throat, so it’s pretty close). This must be that unique and nostalgic style he was referring too. why I found myself being reminded of early All that Remains, and As I lay dying. The third track, which is also the shortest (excluding the interlude), will immediately get your head bobbing along. With lyrics, such as “no mercy for a bastard” and “no pity for a coward” is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I can easily picture a group of metalheads chanting along. The fourth track is technically an interlude, but it is easily my favorite track. I cannot go without mentioning how beautiful guitars in this track, and I would personally love to hear metal songs with this softer sound mixed in.
Track five, “I Just Wanted to be Someone” has a clear message and a wonderful development. It starts off softer than the other tracks, and the lyrics, “Plagued by imperfections, crippled by doubt the beat of my own heart became a hollow sound” provide context to the previous lyrics on the album and helps explain the anger expressed. This is something most people can relate to, the pressure of being successful. After all, who doesn’t want to be someone? The lyrics become increasingly solemn when he states “if I am already dead, then it can’t happen again.” Just in case you couldn’t see the signs, he clearly states in the next line “I’m gonna take my life.” For better or for worse, this is a staple of most heavy metal lyrics: angry, depressed, betrayed, alone, and death. This track does show the most diversity for Coffey’s vocals. He sings, he screams, he growls, he does it all. His final track on Moonrise is an acoustic version of the second track, Witch Hunt. With you would not even know it was the same song. The acoustic version is heavily influenced by Coffey’s emo/pop punk past, and quickly had me feeling like it was 2004 and I was stealing mix CDs from my older sister again.
Regardless of your opinions on metal or hardcore, you cannot dispute the talent of Jordan Coffey. The range of styles both instrumentally and vocally from this man is genuinely impressive. I would love to see him infuse more of his pop punk influence vocally and maybe add a few in-your-face guitar solos, this is metal after all. I love the energy he brings to the table, and would be curious what it would be like to see a one-man metal band live. Surely if Dethklok (a fictional cartoon band) can tour, Jordan Coffey can too.