Sound — 7
When metalcore became popular in the early-mid 2000s, there were many similarities with what melodic death metal bands were doing, think Gothenburg style riffing and twin guitar harmonies in the vein of in flames and at the gates, in addition to the thrash elements.
Now fast forward a few years to about 2010, now many of the elements that made bands like trivium, and all that remains so popular are now gone. While still retaining the eerie sing a long poppy choruses the emphasis seems to have shifted towards more polyrhythmical downtuned riffing (or "djent" if I could call it so) also utilized by Periphery, TesseracT and Meshuggah. The songs are rife with studio trickery (layering, stuttered vocals etc), a myriad of breakdowns, an abundance of trance and electronic elements, like the absurd amount of autotune abandon all ships use in their songs, but worse yet a worrying lack of guitar solos to make the Petrucci fan in me cry.
Woe is me are one of these bands, and while I may have already come across as biased towards this genre I genuinely do have a fondness for a few modern metalcore bands like Memphis May Fire, and Asking Alexandria.
Back to the topic at hand, and given what I've already discussed in the above ramblings I've already covered a lot of the sound of this record, but there are a few elements present hear that set this record above average.
I'll start off with new clean vocalist, Hance Alligood, you can clearly tell he can't reach the higher octaves like previous singer Tyler Carter, he still delivers some catchy hooks, that will keep you coming back for further listens.
Michael Bohn's replacement Doriano Magliano has also proved to be a worthy new addition to the band. Upon listening to old release Number(s)I noticed Michael didn't really branch out of the mid range on his vocals, Doriano on the other hand is able to growl much deeper and sustain his screams for longer making for a much heavier mosh friendly sound, Whilst doing a sound job at replicating Michael Bohn's sound.
The song structure is somewhat innovative (some may call it unorganized), in that it doesn't always follow the normal metalcore cliches of verse chorus verse structure, which makes for a interesting yet accessible sound, where the same chorus is rarely heard twice.
The musicianship here wont be terribly well appreciated with lots of binary riffing/chugging, repetitive drum fills, and synth sections that at times just sound like they're being re-used, however there are many "epic" moments to be enjoyed, where the symphonic parts are played just right, and the music just flows perfectly.
Lyrics — 3
I can't really discuss the vocals anymore now so I'll begin with the lyrics. They mainly follow either one of two themes the first being how they're still going to stay in light of the bands setbacks and lineup troubles they've had which is no bad thing and I don't wish to dwell on that. The other subject the lyrics deal with are the bands feuds and grudges between former members, which are at times puerile at best. I don't think these childish stabs at ex members do much damage to the overall quality of the record but it really does get old fast.
Overall Impression — 6
With all this considered a lot of this albums strengths will eventually get drowned out by the repetition, and the listener will eventually "cotton on" to the fact, it's the same 3 or 4 songs (albeit being decent songs) being recycled, with the exception of the acoustic version of "Nothing Left to Lose" and the albums finisher "Family First."
I have to say if this was album was stolen from me, I probably would buy it again,simply for the catchiness of the songs.
- "Family First" - Hance Alligood really shows of his vocal ability here
- "A Story to Tell" and "I've Told You Once"
- "The Walking Dead" - purely for Matty Mullins amazing guest vocal performance.