Sound — 7
The Agony Scene is not well known by any means. Even many fans of metalcore have never heard of these guys. Among fans (including me) they were one of the most hardcore bands. However in almost everyway, The Agony Scene took a few steps back. They seem to have abandoned their signature sound for a much more punk feel. Vocals are still fairly good. In this album Mike Williams' vocals don't have the both highs and lows, he sticks to a kinda of mid pitched growl for most of the album. While I would have preferred to hear much more highs, overall the vocals are quite good. However, everything else is very generic, nothing you have not seen before. While there are a few standout tracks that are quite good, the rest just kind of blend into one another. The guitar work, overall isn't bad, but again, many riffs sound very similar. However the biggest complaint is the drumming. The drummer from the previous two albums, Brent Masters, was replaced with newcomer, Ryan Folden. Ryan's drumming style is very different, which has a very punk feel to it. While not at all bad, it has a very different feel from previous albums. This combined with the other factors makes this album kind of bland.
Lyrics — 6
Lyrically the album took a step back too. The lyrics go well with the music, however all the lyrics feel very uninspired. In many of the lyrics certain phrases are used over and over again, such as "Hell waits for everyone" in "Dances With Devils". Not to say there are not some good thing. One of my favorite tracks of this album is "White Nights". It is about the mass suicide cult practiced in the 1970's that was founded by a man called Jim Jones. One of the interesting parts is that Jim Jones made a speech and had it recored, which to this day is known as the death tape, and parts of the death tape are played at the end of the song. That was quite original and quite cool. However, it doesn't make the rest of the lyrics any better, most of which, are lackluster.
Overall Impression — 6
The Agony Scene is one of my favorite bands. Their first two albums were amazing, crafting their own sound, and bring a lot of darkness to metalcore. However with this release, they took some major steps back, creating a overall very forgettable album. While I do listen to it, and I do enjoy it, it is not The Agony Scene that I know. If you are a fan of the band, such as me, you will find some good in it. Everyone else is better off just listening to the first two albums. On a slightly better note, I really like the album cover. Reminds me of that old game "Kerplunk", only with a skull. (Talking about the actual art, not the cardboard slip cover).