Sound — 9
Tommy Vext comes at us again with a new band called Westfield Massacre. Stephen Brewer and Ira Black hold it down on the six strings, while Erik Tsinger keeps the groove on bass and Dio Britto delivers the punch on drums. What happened to Tim Yeung and Bill Hudson you might ask? Well Brazilian Billy got a phenomenal opportunity playing for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Tim... Ok I don't know what to tell you about Tim, but this is what I can tell you.
Tommy never ceases to amaze me and push himself as a musician. His creativity is at the highest it has ever been and at no point does he disappoint with his melodies and harmonies.
Westfield Massacre took a different approach when it came to this album. It is metal, don't get me wrong. But the song "Alchemy" will definitely take you off guard with it's electronic and almost dubstep rhythms while Tommy sings over it which transitions perfectly into my personal favorite song on the album, "Time to Rise."
Which was surprising to me, because being a small time, non-mainstream band, the production value is phenomenal. There was no crackling that I heard, or clipping that was super apparent. Production wise, they worked very hard on this.
Lyrics — 9
There's a recurring theme in this album and it has to do with women. I'm unsure of what the overall theme is, but in their video for "Darkness Divides," there's the women playing the violins (or violas, I get the two confused all the time), the music video "Build Your Thrones" contains women in the same type of all-white dress theme, and then on their CD cover, their album art shows a young girl either being hanged, or hanged herself (no, the proper terminology is not "hung," have some respect for the dead). So once again I'm unsure of what the overall message is, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with dead women or a dead woman. The song "Loretta" further confirms my suspicions when Tommy spits out lines like, "The weight of the world is breaking the girl, she's learning to speak with the dead."
And it fits the overall mood of the album. Nothing here is out of place and it almost feels like it's its own world.
Some might bash on the recycled lyrics such as, "Failed creation, open your eyes," we all know where that's from. But then there were also some reused lines from when Tommy and Angel Vivaldi had their own project going and to me, recycled lyrics aren't a problem to me. I know to some its sacrilege or even "heresy" if you will, but all that tells me is that they mean something and the lyrics need to be heard again. "Maid of gold" and "not all who wonder are lost" are lines that reoccur, but at the same time, they're not re-hashed. It's a fresh approach.
Overall Impression — 9
My overall impression is very surprised. Not underwhelmed, not overwhelmed, but satisfied. When their first single was released, everyone compared it to Vext's old band, calling Westfield Massacre "Divine Heresy 2.0," but even if you went into this melodic adventure with that expectation it would be crushed by the immense sound and passion the album carries. From their opener that transitions seamlessly to "Darkness Divides," all the way to their bone crushing closer "Consummation of Disgrace," the pacing of the album is perfect. My personal favorites are "Alchemy," which throws you right into "Time to Rise" (my favorite). If you're more of the clean type and need to take it a little slow, but still feel metal, "Honorable Discharge" will have you singing along about burning candles but if you want to keep that hair on your chest, then the songs "Underneath the Skin" (feat. D. Randall Blythe) and "Consummation of Disgrace" will have you feeling like a man again.
The only down side, to me, was the guitar tone. It's still there, but I'm more of a fan of Machine Head or As I Lay Dying so that's nothing but a personal preference. If this album were stolen out of my car I'd be pissed, but then I'd just get it digitally. So yes, I would buy it again.