Review Summary: IMO the bar isn't really raised all that high in the whole Christian Hardcore/Metal thing but these guys are diversified/catchy enough to make me reconsider just that. PS: I know alot of Christian kids who cry to this album. I don't... personally.Chasing Victory
is during “I Call This Abandonment”
Adam Harrell- Vocals
Michael Lamb- Guitar
Jeremy Lowery- Drums
Chris Cargile- Guitar (played bass on most of I Call This Abandonment)
Chris Crutchfield- Bass
Label as produced: Mono Vs. Stereo
Original Release Date: October 4, 2005
The Real Version of You
So here’s the prelude to this story. This album is from back in 2005 and I discovered this band in middle/late 2006 when I was actually getting all into Maylene and the sons of disaster and Showdown. All of these bands are from the same label and the stores around here are pretty good with stocking CD’s that are, well not from a major label. Maylene and Showdown were both able to be bought but Chasing Victory was a no-go and I had a fall out with the band up until recently. ToWhatEnd actually was able to get me this full version of the album and I am forever in debt to him now but I’ll do what he’d want me to do by reviewing this band/album. Chasing Victory can be argued for many genres but there is no doubt that there is a lot of Christian religious references in the music. I wouldn’t go out of my way to call them that infamous term everyone calls a Christian band that screams “Christian Metalcore”. If your indicted to the fact that you want something raw, and all out scream-a-thon this won’t be it and this kind of surprised myself. From all of the songs I listened to before I fell out with the band the vocals were pretty brash and the ratio of screaming;melody was heavily outweighed to the screaming side. I listened to the full album and was surprised that this wasn’t the case throughout. It kind of reminds me of an identical path I had with Silverstein hearing songs like, Smashed Into Pieces, Bleeds No More, and When Broken Can Easily be Fixed
. Identifying with this band comes with a lot of the usual acts such as Underoath, A Static Lullaby, As Cities Burn, and From First To Last. I’d bet money on it that if you like these bands, you’ll make loving terms with this band.
The debut LP is something that has a lot of drive and ambition behind it and even if you’re not a fan of the genre you may want to stick around for what I have to say.
Meet me at the shore
“MEET ME AT THE SHORE!” is the words that kick this album off. The first song “Oceans Away” entwines the listener with fast paced post hardcore style of guitar and slows up at the verses to a more “stop and go” feel. The screams are pretty in key with the style Underoath has put out during “Define The Great Line”. I was impressed with the catchiness of “Oceans Away” being that it is the introducing song and doesn’t really do anything complex but has a lot of hooks that will do just that… hook you in. The melody vocals aren’t really sung except in the chorus but more or less as that “Christian” style of almost spoken in between the screams. Two minutes into the song there is even an interlude with clean guitar strumming and singing which is a nice touch to a song that’s been in your face and fast. I liked this song last year, and it’s probably one of the songs that sparked my interest in the band but…
“Unrequited Love” was the song that sold me. This song brings the same intensity (if not more) as the first song and really just is as pummeling as it is beautiful.
The whole song feels like it’s based on anticipation and tension as the music is always at a rising crescendo. The screams in this song are a lot more impressive than the first song, and it just feels like this song had a lot more time put into it. The quick and subtle time changes will keep the listener interested and the melodic vocals are above average than most of your Christian Metal type of bands. The melodic vocals also seem to mimic the drummer of Underoath Aaron in a lot of terms but we’re not here to speak of melody because by the 2 ½ minute mark “I CALL THIS ABANDONMENT” roars through your headphones and will just kick you in the back of the head.
Overall the song has some creative drumming and some nice guitar work and is one of the reasons why I wanted this album so bad. “The Night Your Guardian Fell Asleep” starts off on a more pop-punk/post-hardcore settling with the octave strummed guitar. The vocals didn’t start with the brash and abrupt screaming this time but actually is almost all the way sung. The vocals in this song make me think of From First To Last, at a seconds pace of thought. Even the screams in this song feel like they could have been ripped from “Dear Diary: My Teenage Angst has a body count”. The little interlude of this song is much heavier then the other ones and involves a lot of harmonics and high string picking. It’s pretty tasty to listen too and there’s even a little bass lead during the interlude. “A Taste Of Your Own Medicine” starts off slow and heavy and comes back in with the screaming as a dominating force. The verse guitar riff is pretty sexual in this song and takes an active role in the music and setting the mood of the song. The chorus even features the same riff except in between heavily layered walls of palm muted open chords. I felt like the previous song lost something in the transitioning pace of this album but I definitely think this song won me back over. It could possibly be because every time I hear of From First To Last I vomit in my mouth a little bit. “A Taste Of Your Own Medicine” definitely breaks the ice since it’s unlike the other songs and still just as good… but “The Killer Is Me” goes back to making me think of From First To Last. Okay I can withstand this but the vocal melody sounds so much like From First To Last, it’s insane. If you threw in a renaissance keyboard I’m pretty sure this could pass as a FFTL demo
through the vocals. The screaming definitely has a leg up on FFTL though. Probably actually 10 legs up like a daddy long leg’s, but all in all I really couldn’t believe the resemblance of FFTL in songs like this one. If you never heard any FFTL then, well… I guess you won’t know what I mean but overall so far, so good.
“First Steps To Recovery” is somewhere that I know many people won’t like where the band is going but there going to have to sit down right now. This song for me in terms is some sort of climax because it showed me a side of this band I never thought of. It was like me hearing Silverstein “November” for the first time. The song starts off with drums only and fills in with this groovy bass line and melodic guitar. I was blown away by the activeness of the bass throughout the whole song and the fact that a band is actually doing this. The singing doesn’t even feel like FFTL anymore and a true voice has come out of Adam Harrell. The catchiness of this song runs just as high as if it was fast, heavy, and screaming for me. It was probably the biggest sleeper song for me and it blew me away. “Pre-Empty Nest Syndrome” goes back to that Underoath/As Cities Burn feeling. A lot of dissonance from the guitars with heavy, throaty screams. This song was perfectly placed after such a beautiful ballad in “First Steps To Recovery”. The chorus in this song reaches such an emotional climax for me and a lot of it has to do with the build up that comes behind it. Chugging palm mutes and then the break in the lead singers voice which almost feels like a cry out for help (or to god in the Christian matter?). “Show me a mother's tender heart”, and I feel so numb as he sings it. The whole song is a trip that takes a venture out there which seems like the band isn’t afraid to do. “Suspects, Alibis And Partners In Crime” feels like the usual pop-punk song. The song definitely shows me shades of Silverstein with it’s song construction but on this album it doesn’t rank so high for me as the other songs. It just doesn’t feel as refined or reformed as the other songs.
“The Real Version Of You” begins with a nice lead in with the guitar and has a real The Used feeling to it. Just because I said the Used doesn’t mean you need to be turned off by it but it just has a real pop-punky feeling to it as many of the songs on the second half of the CD do. For me I think it’s ideal because I love the whole post-hardcore/metalish thing and I also have a different type of love for the pop-punk, alternative things. It’s almost like the band took two ep’s and mixed it into a CD. I may of just said all of this but watch out… “Ascension And Escape” starts heavy, sounds mad, and ends heavy. A lot of the song is fast paced with fewer melodic parts and those screams that you’ll most likely embrace too. “Speak Easy” is a weird way to end the album since it has a very FFTL and Underoath feel with the blast beats and keyboard. Almost like an industrial feeling beginning kind of perplexed me if I was listening to an introduction from NIN or Dillinger Escape Plan. It hit’s the 2 minute mark into the song and I’m kind of bummed because the whole song makes me feel like I’m in Tron the movie/video game and stuck. The whole track listing sent me on the ride and it feels like I’m walking slowly into an abyss now with the slowed pace and mostly incoherent vocals.
I Don’t Want To Abandon This
The Mono vs. Stereo label has impressed with the bands they have and this band will be no different. If it’s a knack of finding young talent they want, well they definitely have it. I can definitely see Chasing Victory going to such of a label as Solid State/Tooth & Nail as something that feels inevitable. The other bands on this label are already are moving up with Maylene inking the deal with Ferret (which seems to be rounding up everyone’s losses these days). This was an album that I had a feeling awhile ago was going to impress me and it did just that. Since I knew it was going to impress me, it astonished me in ways that I didn’t think the band would be directed towards such as more pop-punk melodic songs. I won’t lie the FFTL vocals that seemed almost mimicked weired me out a lot, but I grew to it but I don’t think everyone will. It’s kind of weird because the melody vocals of the softer parts in a lot of songs seem to mimic those of other bands so you really need to make sure if you want to try this band out you try more songs then probably… 3. I don’t recommend tracks because I don’t believe in it but from reading this review I’m sure you’ll have an idea of what I liked more than others and hopefully I supplied sufficient reasoning with that. As I said in the beginning if you’re into the Christian Metal, Norma Jean, Underoath, As Cities Burn thing or if you’re looking for a heavier version of FFTL… this is right up your alley.
+ Good all around vocals
+ Diversity in genres
+ Hooks and Catches in good spots during songs
+ Some nice bass leads
- Unoriginal in a sense
- Musicianship doesn’t really stray anywhere outside the box