Sound — 8
Confession have always be known to keep to a pretty straightforward song formula; breakdowns, melodic sections and maybe an upbeat riff or two. This has always worked well, but never so much as on their 2011 release, "The Long Way Home." They have always kept to the same sound, but there's something about this record that makes me feel "This is how Confession were always meant to sound." This is at least due in part to the wonderful production job Fredrik Nordstrm did for this record. Being one of the leading melodic death metal producers, he does a great work on hardcore records, having also worked with the likes of I Killed The Prom Queen and Bring Me The Horizon. The breakdowns sound massive with no shortage of bass drops and punchy drum sounds (a personal favourite being the overly reverbed snare in "I Created This Horror"). The guitar tones are also really well executed and clear, which is particularly surprising on "I Created This Horror" and "Heartless" which are tuned to Drop F#. It is my understanding that this was recorded with 6 string guitars, so to EQ that to not sound like some hybrid of Flubber and mud is a bit of an accomplishment. The album is not without some calmer clean-guitar moments and these sound pretty good too. Despite the wall of praise I've typed so far, there is one big negative that drags it down; a lot of the songs are pretty "samey". The song structure seems to remain pretty much the same throughout; Verse -> Breakdown -> Chorus -> Verse -> Breakdown and a lot of the time, when returning to a verse, the patterns remain more or less identical. They could've at least changed it up a little, in my opinion. They make little variations sometimes but a lot of the time it's just the same riff again. Also adding to the "sameness" issue, the songs "Gimme A.D.D" and "Heartless" are almost the same song in different tunings. But that having been said, the sound of the record itself is great, the production job is top-notch and for fans of Confession, odds are you're no stranger to sameness so this will be an enjoyable listen for you. Those of you who aren't fans or haven't heard them before, give this a chance.
Lyrics — 7
The first thing I noticed while listening through this record is that there seems to be more clean singing from bassist-turned-guitarist Dan Brown. Confession started using clean vocals on Cancer, and they must have been well-received because they brought them back on The Long Way Home. Dan is an okay singer. That's really the only way I can describe his voice. It's okay. It sounds like there's a tonne of effects on it, which I find annoying, but looking past that, his voice itself is okay and he sings okay live. Crafter isn't doing much different than he did on "Cancer" or "Can't Live, Can't Breathe"... or when he was still doing vocals for I Killed The Prom Queen. He's always had pretty much the same sound. He's not the greatest vocalist, never has been but what he does suits Confession well. I do say he's not doing MUCH different on this album, because he does seem to have better control and maybe even a wider range displayed on The Long Way Home. The lyrics on the record range from what, to me has come to be the status quo for Confession; telling people that have wronged you to "get f*cked" to the main topic running through a decent portion of the album, which is the love of home and the people there. On the whole, the lyrics are pretty average, though I did laugh when reading through the liner notes to find this in "Confused/Hopeless": "Sinking, always sinking / I clearly stole this line from a friend of mine."
Overall Impression — 9
I think this is everything their 2009 release "Cancer" was striving to be, and the sound that they've been after since the beginning. As I said at the top, I believe this is the way Confession were meant to sound. There are plenty of breakdowns and sing-along choruses to keep the crowd happy, which for a mosh/hardcore band is the goal. My 4 favourites from the 11 tracks are: "I Created This Horror" because of how heavy it is, being the first of two tracks on the album in Drop F#. The breakdown gets me every time. "Asthma Attack" because it seems to have a bit of a different feel to it, being a lot more fast-paced than the others. I can't really name why "Gimme A.D.D." is a favourite. It just is. Great song. and "Heartless" being the second track in Drop F#. There are plenty of breakdowns in this song that I can't resist banging my head to. This album, though repetitive is excellent, a real step up from "Cancer" and for any fan of mosh/hardcore bands, this is one album you'll want in your music library.