Sound — 8
When I first heard about this band, they have already received all the criticism from their "fanbase" for changing the sound. However, I believe one cannot give a bad review for a band simply because they progressed, so I will attempt to write a review that isn't completely personal, bias, and based on a moment of rage. Black Earth Tiger has a dark tone to all of their songs, which doesn't appeal to everyone. However, those with a taste for emotionally charged post-hardcore music will definately love this CD. The band has progressed from their previous release both musically and emotionally since their emotions are becoming more complex, and their old fanbase couldn't keep up with Emanuel's growth. This CD has some nu-metal grooves incorporated in some of the songs, which definitely show strong emotion coming not just from the vocalist but from the musicians as well. Black Earth Tiger doesn't exactly fit one genre, so my best attempt to classify their sound would be post-harcore/screamo/emo. Vocals are somewhat less whiny than most in the genre, and the guitar riffs, or rather power chords feature far too few interesting progressions that haven't been explored in this genre. This whole story is very reminiscent of what happened to infamous Finch, new CD was much darker with more complex emotions than previous much more high-appeal release, and the story of Emanuel seems to be the same. However, it is unclear where the band is going from here with numerous rumors floating that the band was breaking up (later proven false by the band on their myspace). The worst thing about this CD is that some of the songs become too repetetive within themselves, where a 4 minute song could have easily been a 2:30. Also, from a guitarist point of view there aren't too many complex riffs that could be expected from a band in this genre.
Lyrics — 10
the lyrics are definitely emotionally charged to great extent, and some of the songs leave you thinking about the meaning instead of the very popular "she left me now I'm sad I wanna kill myself" prominent in today's emo music. my favorite song on the record is "Scenotaph". The singer uses a few interesting plays on words, such as "pharmacy in my pocket" and his tone is darker than ever. The whole song is based on the phrase "spread your legs and f--k the world" and one could see this in many different contexts, so there are enough lines for inner thinking and interpretation to be abstract.
Overall Impression — 8
I will not base my judgement on previous work because it's such a controversial issue, but Black Earth Tiger is a step in the right direction musically, but their label could work on the marketing aspect so to appeal to different audience to keep the band alive. two most impressive songs on this record are "Scenotaph" and "Cottonmouth", and they're worth downloading to feel the sound of the band. The best thing about this CD is that it is great for as background music on a drive home when the mood is just right, because it is musically quite simple, but the emotional charge cannot be measured on paper, so everyone is going to feel about this record differently. However, this album is great for straight-up listening, the lyrics offer enough to sustain your attention throughout the whole CD if the instruments don't. A right step for this band would be to gather up the guitar players and work out some more interesting riffs, while keeping the intensity. what a lot of bands in this genre are doing right now is going nuts on the delay to keep the intensity and have complex "riffage" at the same time.