The Number Twelve Looks Like You is a mathcore band that we lost fairly recently. They were active around 2002-2010. This band had a pretty significant evolution throughout their career. Let’s take a look at their three main albums.
The first album Put on Your Rosy Red Glasses is truly a mathcore album. It has some tear-your-face-off level intensity. The rhythm is complex and the sound is often quite abrasive. A very good comparison for this album is early Dillinger Escape Plan. Any fan of mathcore should have this album. I absolutely love it.
One interesting thing on this album is that there is a track that stops the madness dead in its tracks. A beautifully composed and executed piece for amplified acoustic guitar sits in there. This has two effects for me. First, it is heart-wrenching to have such a beautiful thing in the middle of a mathcore album. The contrast effect is brilliant. Second, it sets up their future work. It dares people to accuse them as not being whole, well-rounded musicians who care about incorporating influences outside their genre.
This incorporation basically starts in the next album Nuclear.Sad.Nuclear. Recall my review of Iceburn. I said my favorite album was the middle one because it provided a perfect balance on their transition from metal to jazz. This middle album (on the same type of transition) is actually my least favorite. It is still absolutely fantastic, but it sort of fails in my eyes for a few reasons.
First, it is far less in the mathcore genre. It isn’t as abrasive or complex. They start incorporating some of the jazz influences that will play a role in the next album, but not enough to really replace the meat of the album that got lost in removing the mathcoriness. The album sits in sort of a no man’s land for me. They are experimenting, but haven’t come into the brilliance they’re heading towards. I really do love it despite this, but given the choice I’d easily pick the first or last album over this one.
This brings us to the last album Mongrel. The really interesting thing about this album is that it is the culmination of their efforts. We get a solid mathcore album that is heavily influenced by jazz, yet they don’t use traditional jazz instruments. The sound is like nothing I’ve heard elsewhere. Unlike Iceburn, TNTLLY had a trajectory that went to the perfect blend of styles.
Maybe my favorite part of Mongrel is that they use a combination of two screamers with a third clean singing in a way I haven’t heard before. I’ve heard combos like this where everyone is independent and doing their own thing, but on this album they sing the same lines at the same time. The effect is really amazing. It sounds almost like one vocalist with the strangest voice ever.
TNTLLY had a few other releases, but we’ll just leave it here. They were an innovative and consistently great band. Here is a sample: