Review Summary: Something Corporate+Unearth=This is really a terrible piece of generic music.
Originality is a difficult thing to come by nowadays. Very few artists can really even be considered that in this day and age, so for the most part, originality is judged by how well an artist can incorporate different styles of music into their music. Some bands, such as The Mars Volta succeed at this, incorporating elements of Latin and post-hardcore into progressive rock, something that no one before them had tried. But for every band that actually tries to do something original and succeeds, there are at least ten that fail. Enter “experimental” popcore act Chiodos. Chiodos formed in Michigan back in 2001, but really, a back story isn’t necessary for the band, as it’s the same as just about every other local band-turned-national phenomenon.
One of the most quickly recognizable aspects of Chiodos is vocalist Craig Owens. Like many of his contemporaries in the post-hardcore genre, Owens both screams and sings, and like many of his more popular contemporaries, its safe to say that he is not talented in either department. Owen’s clean vocals are bad. Coming off like a less talented Claudio Sanchez, Owens sings in falsetto nearly the entire record. And while there is the rare occasion that he tries to change pitch (“We’re Gonna Have Us a Champagne Jam” and “The Words ‘Best Friend’ Become Redefined”), he just comes off as entirely too whiny and pre-pubescent for it to work. But probably the most un-listenable part about his vocal performance is the fact that he cannot even carry a note out three-quarters of the time. His vocals are just generally terrible throughout the entire album, and causing for one of the least enjoyable aspects of the album.
Musically, All's Well is standard post-hardcore fare for the most part. The guitar work is largely arpeggios and the occasional down-tuned chug coupled with the occasional octave chords, which, while admittedly well-performed, becomes quite irritating after the first chorus or so. The drumming, which I once read somewhere described as 'hyper-technical', is again just standard fare, with really nothing interesting to add at all. Like their contemporaries in Underoath (and millions upon millions of rip-off bands), Chiodos has a synth player that also plays the electric piano, something that is rarely seen in this brand off sugary post-hardcore. Unfortunately, many times the piano and synths don't really add anything truly interesting to the mix, tending to sound either woefully out of place or not present enough to make much of a difference. On tracks like "The Words 'Best Friend' Become Redefined", which tries to center the main verse on the waltzing piano line, almost sounds intriguing, but is quickly ruined by the chill-inducingly bad vocals of Craig Owens and then the same breakdown which you've probably heard ten times by now on the album.
But even with capable musicianship, the style of music that the band is playing just isn't enjoyable in any capacity. Chiodos tries to juxtapose moments of "beauty" created by the piano lines and soft-vocals with moments of "chaos" allegedly created by the thrashing, metal-toned, guitars, and while this may work with bands like Opeth (who create not only more chaotic and brutal moments but much more fulfilling moments of beauty), and aside from "No Hardcore Dancing in the Living Room", Chiodos falls flat on their face when it comes to the hard-soft dynamic.
Even so, the fact that almost all of the songs on the album sound completely similar to one another doesn't help the case of All's Well That Ends Well. Between the album's three singles ("One Day Women Will All Become Monsters", "Baby, You Wouldn't Last a Minute On the Creek", "The Words 'Best Friend' Become Redefined"), its nearly impossible to tell the difference between "One Day" and "Baby", and the vocal performance from "The Words Best Friend" is pretty much interchangeable with the other two, and the same holds true for just about every other song on the album. Even the prelude and two interludes (some of the best moments the album has to offer are actually found on the two interludes, offering up an atmospheric change of pace), tend to use a similar piano line throughout which proves to be irritating, as opposed to lending a sense of flow to the whole mess.
It's been a while since I've newly discovered an album this bad. I went into this thinking that it had to have at least enough technicality for me to enjoy, but soon discovering that his album was mired in mediocre musicianship and terrible vocals, on top of an uninteresting sound and one that doesn't seem to change the entire album. Listen to this album only if you feel insecure in your music taste, and only listen to it to reaffirm the belief that "hey, I don't suck that badly, I could have made this shi
Recommended Tracks: Interlude 1, Interlude 2, No Hardcore Dancing in the Living Room