Review Summary: Featuring shamelessly raw production, and a transcendental attitude towards the proprieties of modern hardcore music.
Once, there was the Thirty Years War
; the band in question as far as this particular album goes. The Thirty Years War's sound exemplifies the roots of TFOT, their influence, their future...the group's very own blueprint. With the loss of guitarist Mike Munro, the three musical vagabonds (Thomas Erak, Tim Ward, and Andrew Forsman) moved on to floor guitarists, audiences, and critics alike with the effect heavy, dazzlingly distorted, marvelously gorgeous project The Fall of Troy, and debuted with a self-titled album. Skanky-ass guitar riffs and rolling distortion, amongst pulsing bass and fitting yet repetitive drumming. Sharp, staccato screams, melodious singing as well as melodious bull***…sad attempts at doing what you do into a mike. It's all here, beginning at 'Rockstar Nailbomb!' and unfolding all the way to the blistering finale 'What Sound Does A Mastodon Make?'
On this album, The Fall of Troy incorporate a surrealistic playing style; a style that screams its way through the grinders. The music makes the listener feel as though a story is being told to him or her, however it is quite ineligible under the constrictions of audio, and the vocals are hardly there at times as far as words go. So the listener turns instead to the raging guitar and trance-inducing drums to hear this ever-so magnificent epic. It all sounds like it could be taken as pretentious, but eludes that label gloriously, instead aiming for a less predictable sound and triggering an epoch of sustain. But Thomas Erak works with himself so that it doesn't sound like every other hardcore record, whose overuse of effects or lack thereof have been rehashed to fail at making something new.
Speaking of effects, it goes without saying that a slew of them are defining aspects of the songs on 'The Fall of Troy'. Witnessing flawless execution after linking a chain of pedals, as long as me myself together, is a rare thing to hear. The best part about it is with the lackluster production, the effects come through gracefully and prove Thomas Erak's skill with his feet and the fret-board alike. The lesser time the band spends in the mixing process, the simpler it is to point out incorrectness in their music. The predicament's associated with The Fall of Troy remain, and will likely stay for time to come, in the vocals - which I could completely understand coming off as dreadfully whiny to some. Effects have not much to do with this. Now, the singing and the screaming aren't as terrible as it is easy to make it seem that way. If one is a fan of modern hardcore vocal work, it'll likely come off as a gift from god, all of this. Primarily though, singing is what people make it out to be, and that's important. Thomas Erak sounds and probably is an eighteen-year-old kid on this recording, but since when has age measured vocal ability? It doesn't, but don't expect any Billy Werner here.
Let's talk about what's clearly overpowering everything else on the album here: Thomas's guitar(s). When musical enthusiasts (the 'actually can play instruments' kind) speak of the preponderant aspects regarding equality, chemistry, and musicianship, they aren't preaching horse***, so a lot of the time if they are taken seriously it can benefit your music beyond your expectations. I know the prominence of his guitars over the drums and bass, and even at times his own vocals is likely the consequence (or cause, or gift, whichever way you wish to take it) of the simplistic production job, but on this album it comes off as a major theme. The motif of preposterously loud guitar building up on these falsettos of songs creates an interesting yet redundant sound within this specific genre. It's been done before, and most of the time when it has it's been worthless. But again, I'll come back to the initial venture of incipience, and realize that it's the band's debut - to expect such valor is one thing, and it's something they accomplished. To anticipate shiny, thin production is over the wall and boring. The Fall of Troy catch a break for once.
The epic songs and their explosive riffs, the lyrical undertones and the symbolic song titles, the whoring of the guitar, the smashing of the cymbals, the fiery hot songs emblazoned with even hotter solos - aspects of a fine, fine piece of work. However, the things that bring it down, such as the mediocrity in the singing and the systematic loss of drums and bass are flaws that punch holes in the record the diameter and width of a sleek, fast sniper bullet - it doesn't feel washy, or held-back though. The band did everything they thought would succeed in their gamble for a new sound. With great expectations ahead, The Fall of Troy
and 'The Fall of Troy' will still crush your head in, and then write a song about it.