Sound — 9
Post-hardcore has come a long way since I first started listening to it back in 2008 and this band is a pioneer of that. So let's jump right into it with... THE MIX: Okay, this mix is pretty much spot on. The guitar tone is really dry and raw. It sounds like passive pick ups with an amp running EL34 tubes as opposed to the popular active pickups 6L6 combination we are all used to in this genre. The guitar tone is really nice and fits in with the mix well, it's rather dynamic and the clean tones are very nice too. The guitars in this mix are great period. I'm no bass buff but I know when I can't hear and I know when I can hear too much of it and it really does it's job with this band. The bass doesn't stick out like a mid driven Ampeg but still has a nice tone hardcore music fans are familiar with. The drums are also very nice in this mix, I love cymbals so much and they are really nice in this album. Particularly the china cymbal is nice and trashy which really helps with the breakdowns. The kick snare and toms do their jobs too, they don't stick out but you don't want them too. GUITAR RIFFS: The guitar riffs in "Satori" are fresh, they remind me of southern metal mixed with hardcore and a bit of metalcore. Lot's of interesting yet catchy chord progressions and they don't over do the power chords either. The riffs are very nice, a lot of little catchy lead licks along with new ideas on riffs such as the intro to the track "Embers" other than that they do standard metalish riffs that you would come to expect. They also use the clean channel quite a bit and they come up with some interesting stuff here along with some flat out acoustic guitar which is well... acoustic. DRUMS!: I love drums, I play drums and really appreciate every rudiment and dynamic note I hear. The drummer for this band is extremely talented. One thing I truly respect about this drummer is his discipline and how he so diligently plays along with all the riffs as opposed to showing off his stuff. Now this guy is nuts on the drums if you don't believe me go YouTube search them playing live and you will see what I'm talking about, however a drummers ear will notice his skill on the album and he really does display a wide variety of drumming ability. I also love the cymbal and beat selection, it is perfect for every section, he seriously never over does it and keeps the song exactly where it needs to be, whether it be a straight 8th note snare roll or a complicated polyrhythm involving the china and snare he knows what is supposed to go where. Vocals covered in the next section. But this section gets a 9/10 - seriously fantastic instrumentals by these guys.
Lyrics — 9
This album rocks and the vocals are no exception to this Just so you know I'm not a big "lyrics" guy. The Lyrics: The lyrical theme of this album seems to be mostly about people, to be honest with you guys I do vocals for a band myself and most of the time I find myself writing about someone and how they have effected me and that seems to be what this guy has done. Does that mean it can't be done well... no and especially not in this case. The lyrics are not fake and that's a big deal in my opinion, some people may not like lyrics about girls or lyrics about people that have crossed the singer but seriously when they come from the heart people relate and I'm telling you as a vocalist myself this guys lyrics are real. They are good and I never really felt they were cheesy apart from at the start of the track "failures" I thought he was saying "erections" when he was actually saying "our actions" But that's my bad haha! On a serious note the lyrics are true to him and what more could you ask for? VOCAL ABILITY: SCREAMS, SINGING Okay so for all you vocalists out there this guy is a power fry screamer like 80% of vocalists out there at the moment. However this band isn't screaming focused it's definitely orientated around the clean singing which he can undoubtedly do extremely well. I mean this guy is a professional vocalist, the screams are mainly mid to highs, personally I don't know his full screaming ability as far as lows and ability to do false chord etc but that's what I definitely love about it at the same time. A good musician always has something left up their sleeve and remember that one. As far as singing goes this guy is great! He can hold a note and the vibrato that leaks out it enviable. He also has good ability to use techniques like falsetto and generally provides a fantastic rounded vocal experience. The vocals suit the music well and considering this guy plays guitar and does the vocals you gotta give it to him.
Overall Impression — 9
Okay now let's sum this up. I doubt you would have got to this far into the review if you weren't a fan of post-hardcore music and seriously for the haters and elitists out there, just buzz off because this review is from an informed musician who understands the difference between noise and a good record. This album is in my top ten of all time, the only thing that worries me is that their second album will not be as good and that's probably the best thing to worry about from an album. What I truly love about this album is it's ability to hold originality and catchiness throughout 13 tracks. This is one of "those" albums if you know what I mean. They clearly had a vision for this album and everything turned out the way it should have. The best thing about this album is that the musicians just get it if you know what I mean. They knew what they wanted, they knew what the scene is and they knew it was good. Would I recommend you buy this album? For $12 or whatever it is I mean, what kind of stupid question is this? It's evident a lifetimes effort has gone into this, support them and buy it because they really deserve it. This is my favourite album of the year so far. Highlight tracks: "Speak to Me," "Failures," "Some Say It's Your Loss."