Sound — 8
A year doesn't seem like a large amount of time for a group to manifest a new release and extinguish the constructive criticism laid upon them, but it was enough for In Fear And Faith. The San Diego post-hardcore group quietly scratched at the pop metalcore tag glued to their first album and gave themselves a new tattoo. The sound from the six-piece on Imperial is monumental as the mid-2000s' hardcore riffs and chaotic yet rythmic drum taps echo throughout "Bones" and "Live, Love, Redeux". Melodies and track progression on the album may not seem significant but the impact of each song supports the alternating vocals and creates a sense of maturity derived from a lack of restraint.
Lyrics — 8
That fearless attitude is what drives Imperial as a whole. Most metalcore acts born in the past two years focus on entertaining that mainstream-gone-goth fan who adores vocals they can't comprehend over a cluster of noise. Both Cody Anderson and Scott Barnes pass the mic back and forth, leaving time for each other to breathe and transcend from unclean tones that echo Underoath's Spencer Chamberlain to a crisp wail most synth metalcore bands would die for. "The High Life" shows a comprehensive side of both Anderson and Barnes while "Afterthought" and "Counselor" make sure to surface more Underoath comparisons. It seems bias to place In Fear And Faith next to such a major label artist, especially when the sound doesn't go beyond what's generic, but the way the group has evolved in the vocal department puts numerous similarities on display which includes well-crafted lyrics and hooks that take a baseball to your knees and haunt your ears.
Overall Impression — 8
If Imperial was issued back in 2004, it would undeniably be a topic critics and the like are still discussing. It would have sold thousands of copies and propelled the group to new heights and bigger stages, leaving room for more growth. But since its 2010, Imperial comes off as a b-sides album from your favourite aging post-hardcore artist. The release is impressive, it's worth more than just a few listens and intrigues from start to finish, but its not astounding. Since its only In Fear And Faith's second record, it doesn't have to be as their musical presence can only grow and get substantially louder and a tad bit more experimental.