Sound — 8
This is the 4th album from InMe, and the first to feature a 2nd guitarist, Ben Konstantinovic, who was to depart after the album. The inclusion of the 2nd guitarist creates a much more riff based approach to song writing, with intricate lead work and solos laced throughout the album, usually characteristic of the metal genre. Despite this, they retain what they have already become known for - great melodic hooks, passionate vocals and memorable choruses. You just feel now there is more of a darker edge to the sound. The first thing that strikes you about Herald Moth, is the top notch production, especially considering the album was self produced by the band. The rhythm guitars have high end clarity, but also enough low end punch, without sounding overcompressed like most modern bands. This suitably complements the bands attempts at using fuller chord sounds, rather than just basic power chords. This allows the bass to stand out in it's own right. The lead guitar has a great presence, and you are introduced to this in the solo to the opening track "You Won't Hear From Me Again" which is a very tasteful affair overall, especially if you are new to the band. The fantastic start to the album continues with "Belief Revival" with Greg McPhersons driving slap bass in the verse and powerful chorus. Another new inclusion are the synths, keyboards and strings which now layer the sound, allowing the band to make ordinary songs feel much bigger, without the focus being taken away from the other elements of the album. Unique synths sounds are used most notably on the outro to the riff heavy "Nova Armada" and in the intro to the dark "A Mouthful of Loose Teeth" They help the album flow as a whole, due to the mini interludes they provide in and at the end of songs. It's nothing that other bands haven't done before, but it integrates into the bands sound seamlessy while retaining the rawness overall. The only time the other instruments do take the reins is on "All Terrain Vehicle" where the band take things down a notch or two. The acoustic guitar is merely a texture on this track, with the grand orchestral arrangment coming to the forefront, turning the song into one of my favourites on the album. The lead work really shines again on "The Art of Moderation", with the surprisingly long tapped solo suiting the general aggression of this song. Unfortunately, either side of this song, I feel there a couple of more generic songs, where the structure begins to get predictible and boring and you feel they are repeating themselves. This is particuarly obvious in "Ferocity in Desire" where a good song is let down by a slightly out of place chuggy break section. Although not the best song on the album, "Happy to Disappoint You" breaks this structural mould, opting for a more sedate chorus, compared to the verse, which contrasts well with the evil riff that follows. The solo is also more suitably sedate, gradually building up before it all breaks down again. The final song is the epic "Master Storm" where the band ambitiously delve in a more progressive influenced song, with the technical intro channeling a sound similar to SiKth. The interesting chord progressions, simple yet effective lead work in the verse and cleverly arranged last 3rd of the song really give you the feeling a lot of effort went into this song.
Lyrics — 8
The thing that has always stood out with InMe's sound is the unique accented singing voice of Dave McPherson, which reminds me at times of Hundred Reasons. You may not like it, but won't be able to deny the character that it adds to the songs. He showcases his range throughout the album, with power, vulnerability and a warmth that makes him sound very accessible. The negative side of the vocal approach on this album, for me, are the aggressive vocals. Although not terrible, Dave's screams don't compare to bands who have utlisied the harsh vocal technique before, such as Alexisonfire. Thankfully, he doesn't do this too much, and it only drags the odd song down slightly. In keeping with the music, the lyrics are also darker, while disguised behind cheerful vocal melodies, particularly on "The Art Of Moderation" with very direct lines like 'Pucker up and suck on a shotgun' Generally he takes a very honest approach to lyrics, such as "All Terrain Vehicle" and "You Wont Hear From Me Again", but often hidden in metaphorical symbolism and dual meanings. Sometimes this can alienate the listener, as it feels as if the lyrics are trying to confuse you, but they will definitely draw you in if you let them. The biting irony of "Single of the Weak" you will either love or hate, with their amusing commentary on what's played on the radio these days over an almost painfully catchy song. "Master Storm" is a song based around a journey in the sea through a storm, which is a topic that everyone seems to be fascinated by these days, but by no means are they weak lyrics.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, the album showcases the bands ability to arrange heavy riffs with huge choruses, without it ever feeling cheesy or contrived. Stand out tracks are scattered throughout the album, and although it stutters slightly, it picks itself back up again for a great finale. At times, it frustrates you with some predictible songs, where some ideas feel like they are repeated and similar ground is covered again. While the inclusion of the 2nd guitarist definitely expanded the sound of the band, it also encouraged more obvious arrangement choices, such as a solo in the bridge, where before, the song may have ventured down a different route. This makes a few solos not stand out, which takes away from their overall quality. Funnily enough, arguably the best song on the album, "Master Storm" doesn't feature an outright solo, as there are vocals over the top of it. The band already have somewhat of a cult following, and definitely deserve more recognition judging by this strong album.