Review Summary: It's not Phenomenonal, but TFK's latest record is certainly an enjoyable assault on the senses.
After a little more than two years in between records, Toronto’s Thousand Foot Krutch releases their third album for Tooth & Nail Records, The Flame in All of Us
, to considerably less fanfare than what preceded their last release, 2005’s The Art of Breaking
. Part of that is because of a minor change in taste that has come about
: where you once heard a lot of Linkin Park, Evanescence, and Trapt on your local KISS-FM, it’s now the Fall Out Boys, Panic! at the Discos, and Plain White T’s’s that rule the day; this undoubtedly has had some adverse effect on those in the Linkin Park side of the spectrum, such as TFK. However, the bigger part of it is that The Art of Breaking
was a huge disappointment.
Oh yeah, in some ways it could be considered successful: its lead single “Move” moved into the top 20 on modern rock stations and the album debuted in the upper half of the Billboard 200 and TFK reached headliner status in the Christian concert world. But when it came to the actual quality of the album, The Art of Breaking
was found very much lacking the energy and confidence that its predecessor, 2003’s Phenomenon
, possessed. In trying to distance themselves from their former rap-metal image, the Krutch went too far, coming off at times like a clone of Three Days Grace (incidentally, hometown buddies of TFK) and at others like a bad ‘90s alternative rock cliché. With only “Move” and a few other winning songs saving the day, the question regarding Thousand Foot Krutch became this: were they as great as Phenomenon
or as mediocre as The Art of Breaking
Well, The Flame In All Of Us
provides a likeable enough answer: they’re somewhere in between. Though not truly capturing the brash air of Phenomenon
, TFK certainly sounds rejuvenated on this record: “New Drug,” “My Own Enemy,” and “The Safest Place” churn out huge, bombastic riffs and some of the band’s most raucous moments since its nu-metal days of Set It Off
. On “Falls Apart,” vocalist/principal songwriter Trevor McNevan continues his never-ending quest to write the perfect WWE entrance anthem – luckily, the song is too catchy to really have a shot at introducing such muscle-and-steroid-bound madmen.
The bulk of the disc is a little slower, though not much softer. “Favorite Disease” showcases a pop sensibility similar to that of McNevan’s side project, FM Static, and “What Do We Know?” builds from laid-back, Sugar Ray-style verses to a final crescendo in the chorus with the help of a children’s choir. Occasionally, trouble arises when the band tries to mix the raucous with the slower, heartfelt (see “Inhuman”) or when McNevan gets a little too cute with his vocals (“Broken Wing”), but for the most part, this slightly mellower TFK succeeds where they had failed before. “My Home” is the love song that “Breathe You In” tried to be and “Wish You Well” is the ballad that “This Is A Call” wanted to be.
Above all, the album sonically just sounds a heck of a lot better than The Art of Breaking
did, and the credit there should probably be given to producer and mixer Ken Andrews. By convincing TFK to record the album live, Andrews was able to coax out a bigger, rawer feel out of the record. The title track is the prime example of this: though one of many songs on the album to feature strings, it’s the song’s main riff that propels it along. The riff is undeniably simple but captivating all the same.
It’s also what best describes the album as a whole: simple yet captivating. No, The Flame In All Of Us
isn’t another Phenomenon
, but then again we probably shouldn’t have been looking for one in the first place. The album fits what TFK is as a live band perfectly and it’s quite likely that several songs will wind up being live staples. It’s not perfect, but we at least have an accurate representation of what Thousand Foot Krutch is: a fun, solid, and energetic rock band.
What Do We Know?