Released: Mar 25, 2016
Genre: Metallic Hardcore
Label: Napalm Records
Number Of Tracks: 14
After an eight-year hiatus, Walls Of Jericho return with another offering of dependably staid metalcore in their fifth album, "No One Can Save You From Yourself."
No One Can Save You From YourselfFeatured review by: UG Team, on april 05, 2016 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Though they faced a break-up early into their initial run after releasing their debut album, 1999's "The Bound Feed the Gagged," Walls Of Jericho would soon reform and really hit their stride with their 2004's "All Hail the Dead" and 2006's "With Devils Amongst Us All," dealing a hardcore-minded metalcore sound in the spirit of Earth Crisis and Throwdown. Further gaining recognition in the metal world by touring with other reputable acts like Hatebreed and Sick Of It All, as well as being a part of Ozzfest in 2006, Walls Of Jericho would get to collaborate with Corey Taylor on their 2008 EP "Redemption," where Taylor's production and co-writing brought forth a softer, acoustic-driven sound for the band; though this change in sound was only a one-off, and their next studio album in the same year, "The American Dream," continued their baseline metalcore sound.
Walls Of Jericho went on hiatus soon after that, and those following years brought forth a new generation of metalcore to change the scene significantly, with recent years showing a trend of pop-minded production value and grandeur. With Walls Of Jericho now returning with their fifth album, "No One Can Save You From Yourself," they don't bother at all to try adapting their sound to the popular metalcore tropes of today, and instead stick to the hardcore-rooted metalcore style they've been dishing out a decade ago. As opposed to the predecessor album "The American Dream," which utilized more death/doom metal inspirations, a thrash-influenced energy is the main factor that drives "Nothing Can Save You From Yourself" (heard in the rapid-strumming riffs in songs like "Cutbird" and "Damage Done"), and while there isn't as much of a standout guitar performance compared to their previous album, Aaron Ruby's basslines stand out nicely in "Relentless," "Wrapped in Violence," "Beyond All Praise," and the more melodically-centered "Anthem."
But in general, Walls Of Jericho's metalcore sound hasn't changed from how it was back then, most starkly heard in the pinch harmonic-filled, double-breakdown likes of the eponymous song. Still peppering all of their little tricks throughout the album as well - pick slides, layered feedback tones, gang chants - the only moments of elaboration in their sonic repertoire are minor, like the string-bending tonal guitar added to the breakdown of "Wrapped in Violence," the dark but simple piano melody intro in "Reign Supreme," and the ending piano/strings ballad of "Probably Will." On one hand, it's a very simple and unadventurous continuation of what they've already known how to do musically, but on the other hand, to see Walls Of Jericho stick to modest metal arrangements and not reach for the overproduced likes of younger metalcore acts - where string sections or bombastic synths are shoehorned at every corner - is, in a way, refreshing. // 6
Lyrics: While not reaching to be as staunchly political as "The American Dream," plenty of lyrics in "No One Can Save You From Yourself" reach in the similar anti-establishment direction; this is heard most directly in the allusion of an overprotective police state in "Illusion of Safety" ("The illusion of safety / A big compromise"), but plenty more lyrics deal with societal problems being perpetuated by one's greed and inconsideration in "Damage Done" ("Self-entitlement / Another product of your environment") and "Anthem" ("Can you see beyond your selfish ways to make this a better place?"). In adjacency to that more personally-aimed message of betterment, other moments of self-help pop up, heard in the appeal to openness in "Forever Militant" ("We build walls to keep everybody out / We build walls to stop all the pain / We build walls to keep ourselves suffering / We build walls, tear down these fucking walls"), and showing a Christian influence in "Relentless" ("Without struggle, there is no strength / So God grant me strength") and the eponymous song ("Look towards absolution / Stop hating everything"). But with the lyrical matter also sticking strongly to metalcore tropes, some cases come off extremely cookie-cutter, like the overblown glory of "Reign Supreme" ("I will go down in history / Or I'll go down in flames"), and the hyper-aggro "Fight the Good Fight" ("We'll break these fucking chains / We'll burn this fucker down"). // 6
Overall Impression: In the way "No One Can Save You From Yourself" stands its ground as a record composed with a classic metalcore mentality that Walls Of Jericho have always abided by, the album wields a paradoxical appeal/fallacy. While its compositional output being rooted in the band's comfort zone offers little to no growth from where the band last left off, the album's choice to not reach for the bombastically overwrought likes of more contemporary metalcore consequently gives the album a down-to-earth appeal that's been fading in metalcore. But though that dichotomy can sway differently for anyone, "No One Can Save You From Yourself," in the simplest of assessments, is a decent returning effort from Walls Of Jericho. // 6