Sound — 9
The Fall of Troy have always sounded different from what they are. They were a great surprise when I first discovered them, and they surprise even more with the new addition. Thomas Erak has always known how to shred on a fretboard, all while belting out amazing vocals. Tim Ward is just as talented on bass, making pure genius bass lines that work perfectly with the guitar parts. Andrew Forsman is behind it all with his drum set, creating thundering drum beats as needed and making subtle, beautiful rythyms as needed. Manipulator doesn't sound like Doppelganger or the S/T release, but the talent is sure there in flying colors. Erak still has his guitar, Ward still has his bass, and Forsman still has his drums. The album leaked a while back, the band put the album on their MySpace days ago, and I got my album a day early, so I've heard this album a lot. Each time it's great. One thing I noticed about Manipulator right away is the poppy type songs that have been incorperated this time. Don't get turned off it though, the sound is still amazing in the poppy songs. Some examples of these would be "Quater Past" and "Oh! The Casino!?" and, like I said, they aren't bad at all, they're just different from what you'd expect from this band. The sound has changed in other ways, as well. Along with the new pop, there is a lot harder, metalcore-ish songs, like "Sledgehammer" and "Ex-Creations". Hell, "Caught Up" sounds like a damn John Mayer track. I'm glad the sound has transformed (but not too much), and The Fall of Troy seems to be on the right track as a developing band.
Lyrics — 8
Erak has always had amazing lyrics. I remember the references to Lord of the Rings in "Last March of the Ents" and I remember him singing about f--k buddies in "Act One, Scene One". I have tremendous respect for Erak's lyrical and vocal (as well as guitar) talent. "Now I'm on a f--king head trip, regurgitate all your ambitions, caught up in this so bad, I'm losing my head, is this a subliminal hit?" and "Honey I think it's time you see, you're mine, stick em up, such a pretty face, shame that it's not gunna smile today", are examples of his witty, sometimes darkly funny, lyrics on the album. His lyrical talent hasn't changed much, but it's okay because he was good to begin with. Another thing you can notice is the addition of the metal-like screams. I don't know if they are from Erak or Ward (who does back-up vox from time to time), but it was something I noticed within the whole album, from "Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them" to "A Man A Plan A Canal Panama". No biggie.
Overall Impression — 9
This is really such a great album from an amazing band. Their sound is different sometimes, but not so much that you will never listen to them again. They are still The Fall of Troy, and their music still kicks ass. My favorite tracks as of now are "The Dark Trail", "Quarter Past", "Oh! The Casino!?", and "A Man A Plan A Canal Panama", but that'll most likely change. Each song has it's unique properties, and they're all amazing; I'm not disappointed with any of them. I love how much they've grown as a band, and that, though growing, they've kept their initial style in tact. That's something not many bands can do, and it really shows the strength of the magnificent trio that is The Fall of Troy. If you're a true Fall of Troy fan, you'll love this album and if you're not a Fall of Troy fan, this album will make you fall (haha, fall) in love with them. Good work, TFOT, you really are gangs-tour.