Sound — 6
"Confessions" is the finale of the "Annabel Trilogy" Alesana started back with the 2010 release "The Emptiness" and followed up by "A Place Where the Sun Is Silent" in 2011 and along with its predecessors it's loosely based off of a story(s) they love and have integrated into their songs, "The Emptiness" was based off various works by Edgar Allen Poe, "A Place Where the Sun Is Silent" was based off Dante's "Inferno" and "Confessions" takes its inspiration from "The Time Quintet" series by Madeleine L'Engle.
On this album Alesana bring back the "Emptiness" writing style but with a heavier sound, tuning the guitars lower and making harsh vocals more prominent than their previous releases all while still keeping up with their signature sound. The overall songwriting on this album ranges from very good to very bland all things considered, the two singles they released, "Comedy of Errors" and "Oh, How The Mighty Have Fallen," being on the bad end of the spectrum.
The guitar work was one of "APWTSIS"'s crowning attributes but sadly are dull and lacking in this release being mostly compiled of generic and unimaginative chord progressions and riffs. The vocal work has a many ups and downs throughout the record but really shine in the heavier parts of the album with Dennis, Shawn and Shane complementing each other beautifully, but the clean sing-along sections on the other hand are disappointing.
Track by track:
01. "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" - This is how you start an album, this is the best song on the album which really sucks, to start off so strong and then go straight downhill is one of the saddest things about this album. Starting off with an intense piano driven horror movie like opening and then thrown into a groovy bass line under Dennis Lee's top notch screams, this song has everything that Alesana excel at with great instrumentation and vocal work alike.
02. "The Acolyte" - This track is reminiscent of "On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax" era Alesana which I usually wouldn't mind but it takes the worst parts of that album and bundles them up into one overwhelmingly average song. The guitar work is this songs only saving grace and even then it's still not impressive.
03. "Comedy of Errors" - As I mentioned earlier this was one of the singles released before the album dropped and when I heard it for the first time I was scared of what the rest of the album would sound like. Clocking in at just over 6 minutes this song is guaranteed to bore, it is at it's very core a bland and generic filler song. The chorus is the highlight of the song surprisingly enough.
04. "The Goddess" - Starting off with a fun and catchy riff into some of the better clean vocal parts of the album this track is a refreshing breather from the previous track and has the instrumentation the rest of the album really needed.
05. "Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen" - The title speaks for itself and yes I feel bad for saying that.
06. "The Puppeteer" - This one isn't that bad but its not that great either. It leads with a sorta hardcore punkish riff which is nice but doesn't fit the melody transition at all, other than that its your average Alesana song with the addition of a generic breakdown that gets improved later on in the song anyway.
07. "Fatal Optimist" - This is the track that attracts the teenage girls and if you're reading this review you probably know exactly what I am talking about, most generic -core bands have this track in their repertoire, but what separates this from the rest is the great guitar work.
08. "The Martyr" - Another one of the more disappointing and generic tracks on the record, there's not much more I can say about it.
09. "Paradox" - Typical Aleasana, Shawn's vocals shine on this one and I along with the rest of the dedicated fan base love the allusion to "Last Three Letters" from their first album.
10. "Through the Eyes of Uriel" - The beginning has more of a nursery rhyme vocal melody which I actually like for some reason, that along with the section at 2:20-2:47 are the highlights of the track the rest is easily forgettable.
11. "Catharsis" - This song is the spiritual representation of the album, a roller coaster of good and bland, most of it is good though. Onto my main gripe with this song, now this is a pretty biased opinion but it's one I feel I have to make. I don't dislike this song for what it is but instead for what it's not, "The Emptiness" and "A Place Where the Sun Is Silent" had phenomenal album closers, this one just pales in comparison.
While the album as a whole is just average, they continue to at least keep themselves apart from the other -core bands they are often paired with; the album production was fantastic as well.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrics have stayed consistent throughout the trilogy, when it comes to story telling they are good at what they do, however their are a few cringe worthy lines that just makes me shake my head in disapproval such as this gem from "Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen":
"A straight line is not the shortest distance between two points!
I know that now! But I'm afraid it might be too late!"
One line from the album I love is: "The Artist screams and beauty dies, his canvas rends /While his easel burns / He's lost everything in but one cruel instant existence swept away / Did man even notice as he was erased?" because it ties in so well with the end of "The Emptiness."
The lyrics could be better but they have improved little by little from their past releases and hopefully will do so in the future.
Overall Impression — 6
The majority of the fan base will love this album to death and I can see why, but for me it just doesn't cut it, the album is promising though and I can't wait for whats coming next. I would recommend this record to fans Crown The Empire, Chiodos, blessthefall and other bands along those lines.
On its own it's not a bad album but Alesana, being one of my favorite bands, I have to compare it to the rest of the trilogy which is where it falls short in almost all categories.
- "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"
- "The Goddess"
- "The Puppeteer"
It was a decent effort in my eyes but go ahead and tell me what you guys think.