Sound — 7
Walking into Best Buy I was hoping to be disappointed and have one of their sales people tell me "I'm sorry, we seem to not have that album available, but it is the first day it is out, try tomorrow." This was not the case, I walked out with goosebumps prepared to throw Smile Empty Soul's new album into my car stereo. Man I have to say, Smile Empty Soul is BACK! Even after the 5 months the fans had to wait before this album came out. The guitars are typical Smile Empty Soul. Sean Danielson has always been known for his one pickup Schecter C1 Elite, and it seems to be his guitar of choice here. He has the guitar distorted like previous albums, with that chorus/phase effect on his clean tones, bringing a really deranged eerie tone to the guitars. There are the songs most people are used to, with the clean intros that lead to the distorted and angry sounding chorus, as well as the distorted intros to clean choruses to the distorted choruses, and my favorite are Sean's acoustic melodies with his beautifully kept voice. Which is a highlight of the album in my opinion. There are songs life We're Through where the choruses are the well defined stressed scream/sings that take me back to the first album, like the song Every Sunday. He also has the great ability to sing, shown in Don't Ever Leave, which also has a good clean sounding riff to keep the listener interested. The songs Stay Alive and O'Lord are more acoustic soft songs, arranged beautifully with great singing and melodies. There is even some soft of interlude/instrumental on the album, which caught me off guard, it is entitled Atoll A couple highlighted songs on the album. 01.Faker: the distorted riffs and chord progressions got me really excited about the rest of the album. 03.Don't Ever Leave: the lyrics of the chorus got me singing and i was listening to the song for the very first time, proving Sean's catchyness. 04.Compromise: a well sung well harmonized song. 06.Stay Alive: seems to be a good song that could make a single sooner or later, easy listening with a good use of distortion to still keep it soft. 08.Atoll: an interlude/instrumental. Sean and Ryan... enough said. 11.L.A. River: good catchy opening line... Good riffs, dark, reminding me of Out To Sea off of Vultures. 13.O'Lord: like a mix of I Want My Life off of Smile Empty Soul and God's Army off of Anxiety. Beautiful singing with great different melodies and interchanging chords. Very few flaws in this album, but every once in a while everyone can get sick of just chords and fewly driven complicated riffs. No they have not gone soft after you listen to the lyrics.
Lyrics — 10
I have always been in love with Sean Danielson's lyrics since I first heard Nowhere Kids. This album still goes along with the them of abuse, anger, deceit, and ruining the generations of kids. "So take your f--king faker face and stay away from me." ~ Faker Don't Ever Leave me has some contradicting sarcastic lyrics. It seems as if there is a superior human being controlling Sean, and he is pretending to love it, which I don't think from the lyrics you could love this. "Hey, love it when your spitting in my face, the way you scream when you are breaking all my things, I love the way you put me in my place." In reality I don't think he really likes this, then he ends this chorus with "Don't Ever Leave Me Alone" Its up to you to decide what he means. O'Lord's lyrics seem to be asking the Lord for help of internal fights within Sean's brain, or whoever's viewpoint it is coming from. "Hard to keep the faith while falling, hard to see your face while crawling, hard to keep the faith while falling down, while no ones around." "O lord save me from my own abuse." The lyrics are always a true thing I have loved about Sean Danielson.
Overall Impression — 9
It compares to the other albums of Smile Empty Soul, because mainly I see it as a combination of their first two albums, (Smile Empty Soul and the barely released Anxiety) with more of Sean's touch. Sean stepped up his singing abilities from Vultures, and added more rage then we saw in songs like Proud To Be or Radio In A Hole. Most impressive songs have to be O'Lord, L.A. River, Don't Ever Leave, Alone With Nothing, and Atoll. I absolutley love it. If it were lost or stolen I would simply need to get a new copy, however that will happen. Smile Empty Soul Fans Get This!