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Released: Sep 29, 2009
Genre: Melodic Hardcore
Label: Metal Blade Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
With creative effects, catchy choruses, and a healthy dose of crunchy guitars, Evergreen Terrace's latest record Almost Home doesn't disappoint.
UG Team, on december 21, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Evergreen Terrace has delivered a sleek-sounding new CD that is accentuated by the band's chosen recording setup. For Almost Home, the Jacksonville-based band opted to record the vocals and instrumentation in two separate places, and you can certainly detect some novel, unique choices in the mix. The layers and textures heard on Almost Home are worthy of listening through headphones, if only because all of the little nuances that are occurring in the recording could easily be missed otherwise. As usual the album does find a fairly decent balance between melody and aggression, and fans should be content with the latest material.
There is never one aspect/member that hogs the spotlight, and that's certainly to the band's credit. Although guitarists Josh James and Craig Chaney deliver intriguing riffs and solos on the album, they are sporadic enough that they never become commonplace. Enemy Sex, We're Always Losing Blood, and I'm A Bulletproof Tiger are key standouts in terms of riffage and interesting guitar lines happening underneath the vocals. At one moment in the record, there is also somewhat of a System of a Down-like approach to the strumming. It should be mentioned that the guitar tones and effects are key in creating the mood, and Evergreen Terrace excels in this area whether it's the sonic sound of Hopelessly Hopeless or the crunch of God Rocky, Is This Your Face. Again, it does seem like this was a highly layered album, and Evergreen Terrace has created some truly memorable moments because of the overlapping guitar parts.
Craig Chaney and Andrew Carey still take turns with the melodic vocals and straightforward screaming respectively, and for the most part it's executed successfully. Evergreen Terrace does, however, sound more at home when they don't even bother adding in more of a pop vibe to the mix. At about 2 minutes long, The Letdown is a prime example of how the band packs a punch with simple aggression. Furious from start to finish, that particular track also highlights the band's creativity in the studio. Even though it's a short tune in length, The Letdown features a cool echo effect that was attached to the vocals and makes for a fairly dramatic end. It's subtle, however, and you'll probably need to listen through headphones or earbuds to get the full effect. // 8
Lyrics: Evergreen Terrace has a fondness for pop culture references, and Almost Home is no exception. Between the play on 80's music in Mario Speedwagon or the cringe-worthy reference from the film Mask (God Rocky, Is This Your Face), Evergreen Terrace hasn't disappointed in its usual shtick. Granted, the lyrics behind the clever titles aren't always quite as witty, but at least they know how to lure you in. // 7
Overall Impression: Although Evergreen Terrace hasn't necessarily created a groundbreaking recording, they still have a knack for balancing catchy choruses, brutal breakdowns, and the always-welcome double bass pedal. At times the melodic singing and screaming do work against each other (Sending Signals), but the band usually allows one or the other to take the forefront and lead the way. Considering that the best tracks on Almost Home were also basically devoid of singing, Evergreen Terrace might want to consider embracing their aggressive side more often. // 8
seanl123, on june 27, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Definitely one of my favorite albums at the moment. Evergreen Terrace have caught my eye only just recently when I was expanding my musical horizons. Needless to say, after watching the video for "Sending Signals", I was immediately impressed, and compelled to hear more. Not only did it combine the elements of hardcore, but it had good melodies, which is very hard to find in modern day music (unless you're looking in the right place). Although "Almost Home" was the first work I had ever heard from Evergreen, I knew I would most likely enjoy the new sound that they obviously must be exploring... So, now to actually reviewing the album. // 7
Lyrics: Although I cannot seem to find an entire list of lyrics for this album, the ones that are available for viewing really speak to the individual listening to the music. Very few bands seem to connect with the audience anymore, and in some songs, I feel Evergreen target the audience with some generalized anxieties of the greater population. In the overall impression, I will go inter greater depth about the combinations between the harsh and clean vocals... So read on.
I feel Andrew Carey (harsh vocals) has a very decent metalcore scream, and pretty much uses this throughout the entire album. Although I find a very decent metalcore screamer hard to come across nowadays, I still would have loved to hear some growls and deeper screams in some parts to really give the songs a kick. Also, it's nice to hear Chris Chaney's clean vocals typically in each chorus of the songs, this is what I love to hear, hard hitting breakdowns, and melodic melodies. // 8
Overall Impression: "Almost Home" starts out with a pretty mediocre track, "Enemy Sex". Although it has some very decent elements within the song, I personally don't find it over all appealing to my musical taste.
"Almost Home (III)". I find to be a very well written song. The song just makes you want to jump up and party pretty much haha. The music combined with the singing make it a fun song to sing along to. I also like how well Josh James handles his guitar solo's. I think this is an element missing in modern music (especially hardcore/punk). However, I think that if the breakdown just before the chorus had been doubled, this song would have been definitely more kicka-s. I hate that this song fades out though, it should have a better ending, oh well, can't win them all. This song is definitely in my playlist.
"God Rocky, Is This Your Face?". Now I'm not sure where guest As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis does his vocals, but I have a suspicion it must be the first verse at least. This song, much like the first song, doesn't appeal to me very much. I just find it isn't broken up very well. However, the breakdown/outro is rather interesting, and acts as a sort of interlude to the next track...
"We're Always Losing Blood". Part of my playlist of the band. It's sort of a guilty pleasure this song, as it doesn't sound overly great, but is still decent to listen to. I think the vocals are the main driving force behind this song, as the riffs aren't that good at all.
"Sending Signals". My personal favourite track from this band. The intro is a little sketchy, and not really sure why it's in there, but the the rest of the song more than makes up for it. The way the clean vocals and harsh vocals interact in the verse make it interesting, and different from other songs I've heard. The chorus is must definitely be a favourite amongst more established fans. The solo, well, what can I say? Solo's like these are what's missing in melodic hardcore bands, and punk bands.
"Mario Speedwagon". This title makes me think, wtf? I assume it's an inside joke. Nothing really stands out about this song, it just blends in with a lot of other punk bands, so this is disappointing. The only good point of this song would be the breakdown, and the outro section, but I think the guitar work could have sounded better considering the rest of the album...
"Failure To Operate". The intro builds on you. But unfortunately, nothing connects the intro section, and the verse well. The rest of this song sounds pretty good too though, and is of course in my playlist.
"Hopelessly Hopeless". Straight off the bat, this song is great. There is a little trade off vocal part, which I absolutely love. One of the upsides of having two different vocalists. The chorus I feel is the main let down from this song. It doesn't really fit with the feel of the rest of the song. Straight after the 2nd chorus, this breakdown (sort of) and clean vocalled interlude, are just so, YES! I feel this interlude is wasted though, a solo after this would just make the song. Still in my playlist though.
"The Letdown". Quite an amusing song as to the length of it. It pretty much acts as an interlude or filler song between the two either side of it. Not much wrong with it, but not overly great either. The breakdown really makes this song, however, I guess the song depends on what mood you're in to which way you side with it, yay or nay.
"I'm A Bulletproof Tiger". Love the title. Like the song overall. The first part of the song can easily overlooked, and I must agree, that I do it. there's nothing to really grab you about the verse's. The chorus makes up for this lack of hooks to the verse. The chorus I feel is the only good part of the song, but still, this goes in my playlist.
"Not Good Enough". The lyrics and title sound pretty emo'ish, but I still love this song regardless. The verse is made interesting by the contrast between harsh and clean vocals. The second part of the chorus in the drums are good, but I feel they lack a good beat in the first half of the chorus. Nothing else stands out about this song when listening to it critically, but it's something you can just turn on whilst driving or something and just sing your heart out to. A relatively good track to finish off a good album. "Playlist worthy".
Overall this album is pretty damn good, and definitely worth purchasing. // 8