Sound — 7
Initially, I saw why Sharks In Your Mouth was so big amongst hardcore and metal fans. It was as though Prom Queen was actually delivering a proper hardcore/metal album, unlike When Goodbye Means Forever, which in my mind was an album which made me sick of the genre. When Goodbye was too forced. I forget when it was released, but if it was after parkway, it was as if they were trying to match them, but forcing singing into the songs. It was a really poor effort, and grew old pretty quickly. A new singer, tours secured with Silverstein, and a bit of pre-album hype later, they release "Music For The Recently Deceased" To Australia and the world. Instantly Prom Queen have changed when you get the album. If you were fortunate to purchase it early, you would of recieved a beautiful insert version of the album, with a transparent tracing sort of paper with the album title and band name, covering a picture of two hands meeting, but seperate, as though paused in that second. I have to applaud the Artist behind the artwork, but as I have lent it to somebody, I can't list the name. Somebody comment this with who made it. The artwork depicts the various stages of the mortuary clinic processes, with scenes of symbolic asps and uraeus I think, and a great picture of the band on a perfect green hill with a perfect blue sky backdrop, equivalent to Underoath's pictures at Death Valley in America's Area 51. Moving on, I listen to that first track and the new sound, especially of Ed Butcher's muted scream, resembling somebody with a screen over their voice box, has definitely improved the bands sound, launching their album to number 27 in the album charts in Australia upon release. Ed Butcher's presence, coming from England, gives strength to what was a band at the top of the hardcore food chain, but with lacking musical efforts. Sharks in Your Mouth is the standout track. The tracks though seem to fade, as consistency from song to song begins to wain. Take for instance Columbian Necktie's chorus against Say Goodbye's chorus. The two vary so much in tone, with Necktie's chorus possible dissonant. You can tell when people who listen to the chorus cringe slightly. Prom Queen have the reputation, and though it may seem like they didn't need to prove anything, in my mind, they had to make this album last. Sacking Michael Crafter, probably the most prominent figure amongst Australian hardcore was a really big move. I saw it as an end to Prom Queen, and to my happiness they re-inforced their lead in the genre through Australia, earning them a spot on the Silverstein tour. The problem I've found with the album is the retaining of structure. Many people can listen to Hardcore songs and distinguish that there is a lack of structure, which is evident here. Songs like Sharks, Say Goodbye and Bet It All On Black have your common themes and choruses, but other songs end on lyrical lines that don't fit like Sleepless Nights And City Lights, and Like Nails To A Casket. Overall the sound compiles Sweedish Breakdown (What the hell is this? why is it sweedish) techniques, which in my mind are just breakdowns. Next we'll be patonising chords. "That's the Hungarian E minor." "That's the Swaziland semi quaver rhythm." The Guitars are solid, but the solo's lack innovation, and correct notes. I've actually noticed that the solo in Sharks In Your Mouth contains some dissonant notes that are just run over quickly, but other than little nigglings the guitar parts are great, all I ask for is more harmonics, slides and bends for expressiveness. The drums, I am admitting that the percussion section of the band has always been flawless with this album being no different. Now the singing. Man I'm going to get hammered for saying this but I don't think this guy can properly sing. Say Goodbye was great. But in other songs he is off key, but it doesn't matter because the songs now focus on the screaming rather than trying to squash singing into places. The screaming is flawless. It's different. It's new. It sounds great recorded and even better live. Music For The Recently Deceased is great, and a stark improvement in musicianship, but lacks consistency found on The Dead Walk's "We Prowl The Streets" and Parkway Drive's "Killing With A Smile", which for me is still the benchmark for Australian Hardcore/Metal. The songs seem to last forever, and don't change very much. And don't all you little newbies tell me that their riffs are so much different, and that they using more techniques because it still doesn't change that other than 4 magnificent tracks the album is a bit like the others.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically solid, compared to other offerings, with death, break-up themes but without strong ways of depicting that emotion through words. Again Sharks is the prevailing track lyrically too, with themes of disallusion, solitariness, loneliness, and in the end death, prevail. "This sinking feeling never dies. I'll chase my sunset laced with pride in this heartless galleon" has that pirate-y feel to it, sort of like a heavy theme song for "Pirates Carribean." The Lyrics create a seaside village romance feel, with lonliness on the island, plaguing the protagonist in Sharks and The Deepest Sleep, then hatred for lost romances in 666, Columbian Neck-tie and Bet It All On Black. Most of the lyrics have to deal with the main character revealing himself as something more, something dark and lonely, disturbing. It's great to see independance lyrically from the hardcore genre, from murder, get the f--kup lyrics and relationships, to self exploration and revealing their true identity. It's as though Ed has released an album before, and now is revealing his true himself.
Overall Impression — 8
To other artists it cannot be compared, which now happens a lot with bands straying into other genre's, getting influenced by different things and returning to their roots. Prom Queen can't be compared because they lead a Hardcore generation of youths and young adults in Australia to raising their fists and putting their thoughts forward. Plus they have changed so much, and with the album being new sound different. Most impress I've songs I've made known are Sharks, Say Goodbye, 666, Deepest Sleep and Slain Upon My Faithful Sword. I Love the change in vocals, Ed fits perfectly, the lyrical representation and depictions, the new direction, but I hate the other songs other than what I have listed, not varying enough to be called single songs, and inconsistent in terms of structure. The Instrumental is a key example, with single riffs worked with, instead of innovating new one's for different sections, also it sounds like The Truth by Bleeding Through. If it were lost I would probably try to buy it cheap, or borrow a copy. I wouldn't buy something else, but I would try to buy it, because the artwork is exceptional, close to Norma Jean's O God grammy winning artwork, and that Sharks In Your Mouth is such an extraordinary song.