Review Summary: Run of the Mill post hardcore with a few catchy tunes worth checking out
Possibly the most worn out genre of the last four or so years, post hardcore/screamo or however you define it, is as varied as it is worn. From the sublime energetic noise of Glassjaw to the more melodic feel in relative newcomers Alexisonfire. Grace Gale borrow hugely from their peers and despite having a clear sound do little to stand out from the flock. When recording “A Few Easy Steps to Secure Heli-Camel Safety” Grace Gale almost undoubtedly had been listening to Pass the Flask by the Bled on repeat, but for the obvious differences in vocal delivery a lot of this material could be b-sides to that album. However as proven time and time again a band does not need originality to succeed in this genre. A Static Lullaby carved out their niche before abandoning it for the mainstream and there is no reason why Grace Gale could not do the same.
The album opens in style with the strongest song on display. “Tijuana vs. Albuquerque” mixes a fast paced raw crunch with a hint of metalcore. I’m reluctant to put this band in he same genre as Converge but I guess it’s a necessary evil for this review. Chances are you’ve heard this kind of thing many, many times before but “Tijuana...” is without doubt a standout track. Sounding like Every Time I Die with the tongue in cheek attitude of Blink 182, the delivery is everything. Its not earth shattering but it sure is fun. Throughout the album the breakdowns soar and unlike many of their contempararies, Grace Gale rarely stop for breath. If you can pretend to ignore the song title then, “I don’t know how to put this…but I’m kind of a big deal” is another great slice of metalcore fun. The album is dominated by screaming vocals broken up with some clean vocals. However actually listening to it it’s not nearly as repetitive and clichéd as that sounds. The guitar work is fast and unrelenting; maybe they don’t shred like Dillinger Escape Plan but there not bad add to the frenzied mayhem. Other highlights include “There’s nothing honorable about this discharge” and “From Erik to John.”
I’m sure that for a lot of scenesters this album with be the greatest thing since “Memphis Will be Laid to Waste” and will make a great addition to their myspace lists, however it truth, its fun but distinctly average. Good for the occasional listen but it soon gets repetitive and the formulaic approach and lack of any kind of deviation form their basic sound isn’t enough to satisfy the more sophisticated metal fan.