Sound — 8
Thousand Foot Krutch's Welcome To The Masquerade is definitely their heaviest album to date. Personally, I was a fan back when they tried to sound like a fusion of Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit back in the Set It Off days. After that, I completely lost my taste for Rap Rock and was kinda depressed when they insisted on keeping that sound on Phenomenon. Since then they've been trying to shake off the rap rock sound and doing it rather poorly. Kinda sounding more like a drunken Simple Plan than a good band. However their last album The Flame In All Of Us, showed some glimmers of hope and actually had some pretty good songs on it. Now with their latest Welcome To The Masquerade, they seem to have found their own sound, and it's a heavy one with some obvious pop influences. This album is definitely their best so far, however there are still some unfortunate traces of Rapcore residue that seem to stain the album here and there. The guitar sounds on this album are delicious enough to make you drool, and the beautiful layering of strings, keys, and backing vocals, are enough to soften even the most badass of people.
Lyrics — 5
Lyrically, this album has a few gems, like the title track, Already Home, E for Extinction, Forward Motion. Otherwise, if not ordinary, the lyrics are kinda cheesy. The song "Look Away" exhausts TFK's already overused formula of writing a ballad that tells a story of a sad teenager. It's sounds manufactured and like an emo kid cash grab. Other tracks are littered with really cheesy lines like "Get Ready for The Smack Down! How you gonna react now?" or "It's getting cold in here so somebody fire it up!" or "Alone in my room, I sit... the walls are closing in". Just a lot of cliches. Luckily the music on this album makes up for the cheesy lyrics.
Overall Impression — 8
One thing that has always impressed me with TFK is their willingness to explore their sound fully. There's nothing worse than an album that sounds the same throughout, and once again, TFK has produced an album with tracks that have a personality of their own. 01. The Invitation: an solid instrumental intro that grabs your interest quickly but in my opinion could have used a smoother segue into the next track. 02. Welcome To The Masquerade: one of the best songs on the album. Some sweet crunchy guitars, a very catchy melody, and some beautiful instrument layering. The subtle piano track and the backing vocals give this song both beauty and balls. 03. Fire It Up: this song is heavy, fast paced, and I could definitely picture it being played in stadiums, or in the trailer of an action movie (It was actually used in the GI Joe teaser trailer). Unfortunately it does have the old rapcore flavor to it which might lead to loss of IQ, and Trevor's screams sound more like a frustrated 12 year old than anything else. However if you're ever in need of good "pump up" song, you'll be glad this song is on the album. 04. Bring Me To Life: perfect song! Heavy, catchy, no filler, great vocals. This one also has a touch of their old rapcore sound, however in this song, they made it work, which is a huge accomplishment that very few have attained. I have probably listened to this song 500 times already. A very addictive track. 05. E for Extinction: this song has a very sweet and dark sounding verse with a mounting heaviness. The prechorus has some awkward sounding harmonized rap vocals??? It kinda ruins the song a bit, however the chorus is strong and redeems the rest of the song. The song is also pretty heavy with a nice crunchy instrumental bridge. It's a great song with an unfortunate pre chorus, but it seems to grow on you... kinda like mold, but it grows on you anyways. 06. Watching Over Me: the first of TFK's mandatory 2 or 3 ballads on every one of their albums. This one is very poppy, however it's quite beautiful, and the chorus is really solid. You'll find yourself listening to this one over and over. It'll probably be more of a guilty pleasure than a favorite song, but whatever, man up and admit you like the song. 07. The Part That Hurts The Most (Is Me): Linkin Park anyone? Honestly, anyone unaware that they were listening to TFK would definitely mistake this song for a new Linkin Park song. Listen to the verses and I dare you to not hear Chester Bennington. The chorus isn't very Linkin Park-ish and almost sounds like a melodic Demon Hunter song. This song is ok until it gets to the bridge. The bridge is balls-to-the-wall heavy, and it's the first time ever that lead singer Trevor McNevan's screaming actually sounds good. You almost wanna rewind the bridge when it's over. Great headbanging material. 08. Scream: meh... it's not a bad song. It's not great. I wouldn't skip it, but i'm not sad when it's over. The only highlight is the bridge (again!), the drums and piano with falsetto vocals is kinda really cool, but short lived... the rest of the song is kinda ordinary. 09. Look Away: worst song on the album. Period. Cheesy. The music sounds like a corny church song, and it really sounds like they were just trying to write a formulaic song for depressed teenagers hoping to make a buck off them. If it sounded honest I might be less cynical, but I don't picture struggling teens when I listen to this, I picture Abercrombie models pretending to be depressed. I dare you not to skip this one, it'll be hard. 10. Forward Motion: good song. Sounds different than anything TFK has done before. It's driven, yet mellow at the same time. The piano is a very nice touch. A good solid track. 11. Outta Control: best song on the album! Probably TFK's best song ever. Really heavy, crunchy, catchy as hell! The accents on the melody in the second verse put in a dark haunting twist that give off a slight hint of Korn influence. But I can't get over this song. This song more than makes up for that lame one a couple tracks back. 12. Smack Down: I still don't know what to think of this song. They definitely wrote it hopes that they could have another ESPN or WWE anthem (which they've had on previous albums with "Rawkfist" and "Move"). They seem addicted to that attention I guess. And they will probably get it with this song. But it is quite cliche and sounds like it would have been cool about 15 years ago. But there is something intangible that kinda redeems the song... I still don't know what it is, but I find myself not hating this song as much as I should. 13. Already Home: does every TFK album finish off with a ballad? Well at least this one is a good one. Beautiful string arrangements, and catchy all around. This one actually sounds honest too. Either it's based on the singer's real emotions, or they did a much better job at faking it this time. But it's a great album closer, and it's a tearjerker. Just man up and admit that you cried to this song. So overall, a really good album. A couple unfortunate tracks, but the good songs are great. Definitely some of TFK's best can be found on this album. It's worth buying the CD. Spectacular Highlights: Welcome To The Masquerade, Bring Me To Life, Watching Over Me, Outta Control, Already Home.