Sound — 8
The Charm The Fury are a metalcore band from Holland that rode the success of their EP "The Social Meltdown" to get on the most recent Warped Tour, and get a full-length album distribution deal. The EP was a great debut, including the single "Virtue of Leadership," which was an incredible song, and is the only track carried over (and re-recorded) to their debut LP, "A Shade of My Former Sel." The band is not doing anything unique to the scene, but they do an awful lot of things very well. The album starts out with the instrumental track "The Unveiling," which is a pretty standard, building instrumental intro. It has the slow piano and low bass notes that all hit a crescendo at the very end of the track, and kicks into easily the best hook of the album when "A Testament" hits. This is one of the strongest songs on the album, and a great first song to introduce the band. Vocalist Caroline Westendorp roars and croons her way through a song that really doesn't conform to standard verse-chorus-verse formats, yet still carries a solid feel of a hook throughout. The next standout track would be "The Enemy," which features vocals from Jamie Graham (who I believe is from Heart Of A Coward). This song shows a lot of proficiency from each member, and the dual vocals are solid. The album takes a breather after the next song, "Colorblind," which is another solid slab of metalcore featuring Daniel de Jongh, with an instrumental called "In The Wake of Pride." Another electronic-leaning track, it's a nice respite, and is actually a fun track to listen to with the way the mix allows for a nice, rounded and punchy bass sound. The next five songs are pretty much on par with the first half, and features the aforementioned "Virtue of Leadership." Being re-recorded, it still sounds pretty much the same, including the one extended guitar solo on the album, and that's a good thing in my opinion. A well-crafted song from top to bottom, it's a good representation of what this band could do.
Lyrics — 7
In general, the lyrics are more upbeat and positive than a lot of other bands in the genre. While not every song is in that vein, the tone of the album is not dark. To be honest though, I very rarely pay much attention to what the lyrics are actually trying to say. It's more about the tone and delivery, and in this department, I very much enjoy Westendorp. Her voice has personality, and just being a female allows for a different sound than other bands in the genre. She doesn't sing clean as much as most metal core singers do, which is a shame, because her clean singing voice is an added texture they should utilize in the same measure that they use dynamics throughout the album. Every once in a while it also sounds like her voice is straining, like they recorded vocals too quickly to get the record out as soon as they could. But, all things considered, it's a great vocal performance, and points to promising possibilities in future releases.
Overall Impression — 8
I feel like The Charm The Fury are only beginning to tap into their potential. The rhythm section is very modern sounding, the electronic elements are sparse but well done when they show up, and the guitarists write great parts. They don't follow standard song structure, but don't exactly ever that far away. The mix of the album is pretty much what you expect, with every instrument clearly heard, and some bass drops here and there. I enjoy the mix a lot, and feel like they are using every spectrum available. It's a fun listen. As a complete package, I enjoy this album more than a lot of albums I've heard from this genre recently. It's not perfect, and I feel like a producer that would push the band to use more of the drum kit more often, more guitar leads and explore the range of vocals from higher screams to pushing the boundaries of her clean voice would benefit the next album. An album that I very much look forward to.