Sound — 7
Releasing Far From the Lies, Greeley Estates knows pretty well what it takes for a core-metal band from Phoenix, Arizona to make a second full-length CD. Vans Warped Tour 2005, self-released full length album and full length DVD -- that sounds pretty much of a formula. Far From The Lies, out on Record Collections in June 2006, results tight tour schedule, impressive fanbase and self-promotion. Being famous for their energetic live shows, Greeley Estates definitely looses when it comes to studio work. And here's why: The album hammers straight away with The End Of All We Know -- it sounds great till something starts to bug you right in the first verse. I'll tell you about what that is in the lyrics section, otherwise I'll be left with nothing to write there about... Greeley Estates switch between gloomy moods of Coheed and Cambria and aggressive punk. Aiming to create their own style, they blend those two quite awkward. The songwriting in the band is weak -- tracks are overloaded with changes and even though the choruses are melodic, it doesn't make them catchy. The band does better on slower melodic tracks like Life Is A Garden and Too Much CSI -- they jump between acoustic breakdowns and loud choruses. Greeley Estates are good at kick-ass loud/quite combinations, but push those in immeasurably in almost every song. There are some good melodies (like in Secret) when the band keeps it not too cheesy pop. Guitar chords are simple as in punk and powerful as in metal. A juvenile metal? Drummer Brian Champ produces strong beats -- his hard-hitting core drums are probably the best part of the whole record.
Lyrics — 6
Guess what an emo band can sing about? Even if it's metal emo? Yes, they are mad as a metal band, but then there's that emo blaming everyone, including myself, in self-nothingness. In general lyrics are mediocre. Ryan Zimmerman uses now so popular way of singing -- screamo with melodic vocals. Screamo is pretty weak and even makes me shiver at times being disgusting. Zimmerman could make a career synchronizing young girls screaming in horror movies. Listening to it you start wondering if young guys should do metal screamo at all... The emo-core part comes from whining vocals of Zimmerman tearing out. I should admit he sounds better and even good on tracks without screamo. But the combination of two is pretty pitiful. There's something awfully wrong with the singing - like those absurdly back vocal chorals in Believe The Lies -- probably borrowed from a Michael Jackson's song.
Overall Impression — 7
As their press-release says, the foundation to the music lies in the character and lives of the band members. For sure their intentions are good and potential, but sometimes you gotta live a life and have some experience to base your music on it. There's nothing new Greeley Estates are bringing to the table as Far From The Lies is very cliched. I swear there are about 100 other bands that are hard to differ from Greeley Estates. Each track individually is a promising piece, but all together they blend into an unmemorable mess. As a whole lot of new bands, this one lacks with personality. It's a shame, but a few chords are quite frankly stolen from famous songs by famous bands... Producer Lou Giordano (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Ataris) tries too hard to make the product sell and apparently over-does his job, making the album sound too polished. The CD booklet features the band members' faces -- one on each page -- five guys too handsome for a metal-core band. And where did metal hairiness go?$$Kosh