Sound — 7
The serene environs of Iowa are becoming a hotbed for metal bands these days. The most notable success to come out of the Hawkeye State if undoubtedly Slipknot, and now Des Moines natives Too Pure To Die are slowly but surely making an impression upon the metalcore world. If you're familiar with the band's last release Confidence and Consequence, you know that the double bass pedal and breakdowns rule supreme. You'll be getting another heavy helping of that classic formula on Too Pure To Die's latest release Confess, but at the same time there are distinct differences that will probably allow the band to branch out to a bigger audience. The buzz has been that Confess picks up where Bury Your Dead's The Beauty And The Breakdown left off, and it's true that the guitars and gritty screams do bear some resemblance. While the verses are heavier than ever and often have a Hatebreed feel as well, Too Pure To Die also gives as much attention to the melodic, traditionally sung vocal style in many of the tracks. It should be mentioned that Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta was at the production helm along with studio master Zeuss, but this is a band that doesn't necessarily sound like a carbon copy of Jasta's project. On Too Pure To Die's Confess there are surprisingly quite a few sing-along moments. The added dose of melody doesn't mean that the grinding, low-end guitars ever let up, however, and you can be assured that Confess is still one angry-sounding album. Among the highlights is the title track Confess, which combines all the best elements of Too Pure To Die. It starts off in a fairly brutal fashion, with the screamed vocals and the double bass pedal crashing through the silence. The tempo picks up almost immediately, and in just a few moments the catchiest, often-repeated line (Carry the blame) begins. The band was wise to title the album after this particular track, as it actually has a lot of potential for being the biggest hit. There are actually some interesting moments where the band injects what sounds like synth lines. The computer-like, techno lines are brief (so no need to worry that they are getting sampler happy), but they do add an interesting touch. Those moments are few and far between, and breakdowns are still the central focus of Confess. Other standout tracks include explosive Gotham City (one of the most aggressive tracks on the CD), Saving Grace (the pinch harmonics come out), and the somewhat restrained Find My Way.
Lyrics — 7
While the comparison to Hatebreed often comes up musically, there is definitely a parallel in the lyrical department as well. Both bands have what seems to be an in-your-face, angry approach, but they probably would also both insist that there is a positive message behind it call. The title track does deliver a pretty good sampling of what you can expect on much of the album with lines like, Carry the blame; Merciless, now I hold your fate; Confess your shame; No one here will miss your face. There are some listeners who will think the lyrics are a little too one-dimensional, but the themes are usually a good match for what we're hearing musically.
Overall Impression — 8
Some might claim that Too Pure To Die leans a little too closely to some other acts out there, but it does seem like they've made some strides to separate themselves from the pack. While the turn to a more melodic, accessible sound might not click with the entire metalcore audience, there is definitely some solid material on Confess and the recording quality is leaps and bounds above Confidence and Consequence.