Released: Oct 9, 2015
Label: Tragic Hero Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
"ASD" by A Skylit Drive is certainly an improvement on "Rise" but it barely has an identity for a band that at least used to have a distinct sound.
elliot.b.mercie, on january 14, 2016 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: In this age where metalcore and hardcore bands are having a hard time standing out, it's a shame when some bands give up their unique sounds in order to fit in. In the long run, this strategy still has a high chance of hurting the band and not increasing their fanbase. A Skylit Drive has never been a revolutionary band but they at least have always had an interesting sound that has served them well for many years.
On their debut album "Wires... and the Concept of Breathing," A Skylit Drive gained a lot of attention for their impressive compositions, soaring vocals and interesting lyrics. Back in those days, the lyrics mostly concerned video games and what not ("Final Fantasy" definitely had an influence). Michael Jagmin's vocals were considered mind blowing for the fact that they were so naturally high. The album wasn't perfect but it was very distinct for its genre.
Album after album came out and soon enough, the band started losing their mojo. Not to say that any of the albums after "Wires" were bad, they just seemed to be less and less ambitious. "Adelphia" and "Identity on Fire" had many good songs with interesting harmonies and instrumentation, but all of those qualities were abandoned with the release of Skylit's 4th album "Rise." The fan reaction was mixed at best and many felt that the album was just generic and uninteresting compared to previous releases; creating unease as for what would happen next for the band.
Skip forward 2 years and now we have "ASD," an improvement on the Skylit sound but only slightly. The sound is unfortunately still generic and I can see the changes that started happening in "Rise" coming at full force in this album. The guitars do almost nothing interesting, the lyrics feel like filler and the songs don't stand out very well, and somehow Michael's vocals are as weak as ever, making little use of his three octave range. Even as I write this, I have a hard time summarizing most of the songs after the 6th track.
The new sound is marketable and inoffensive, but also uninteresting. // 5
Lyrics: There's been a trend in hardcore, metalcore, post-whatever where lyrics feel unremarkable and only there just to be there. It's nothing new but it becomes irritating when you don't have anything to really make up for it. Ever since "Identity on Fire," the lyrics have started to focus more on personal conflicts. The problem is that the lyrics don't sound personal whatsoever. They have that quality where the only heart has gone into the rhyme instead of the message. They never state anything or give purpose or introspection, they're only there to fill in the blanks.
I know this is a typical thing, but it's sad when you see this happen to a band that used to write decently. "My Disease," "Balance," "The Cali Buds," "Your Mistake" and "The Boy Without a Demon," songs from previous efforts at least interesting and emotional topics to talk about. On "ASD" the lyrics are simply there for chants and singalongs, nothing more. // 5
Overall Impression: "ASD" by A Skylit Drive is certainly an improvement on "Rise" but it barely has an identity for a band that at least used to have a distinct sound. Would I still recommend this album? Probably yes, it's still A Skylit Drive and it has traces of their personality in there, but keep in mind that it isn't anything like "Wires..." or "Identity on Fire."
Here's to hoping that the next album will be more ambitious and not feel like a mere extension of "Rise" and "ASD" without any improvements.
My favorite songs on the album would be "Bring Me a War," "Self/Less" and "Symphony of Broken Dreams." // 6