Review Summary: I, Lucifer is a pleasant departure away from Destroy The Runner’s previous cookie cutter metalcore sound. Natural progression and a new vision have allowed them to create a more melodic and more focused release which hints at bigger things to come.
An excerpt from Destroy The Runner’s myspace reads, “There comes a time in every artist's life in which he must find himself through his medium. He must pry himself from any hint of reliance upon others and their art, and embrace who he is and what he was born to create.”
These pretentious statements have potential to ruin a record as the expectations are set way too high. In this case, the aforementioned passage actually assists listeners in understanding the group’s latest release. Obviously progression and change are expected. Judging books (err records) by their covers, just the jump from Saints
to I, Lucifer
in titles suggests polar opposites. Their departure from a run of the mill metalcore sound to a more interesting, melody based one is more of a subtle shift but still keeps to the theme of change. To unify it all, a new vocalist and lyricist allows for a new vision to be embraced. The final product is an impressive shift which will only improve with time.
Despite my initial predictions, this record is not screaming for mainstream attention. Many translate the words “melody based” to sell out. Don’t. In this case that could not be less true. Rather, the group realized what they would like to create and have done just that. The opener “Crumbs For The Murder”
is the closest thing to their older style present. Even so the tastefully placed clean guitars and persistent bursts of melody immediately show progression. The screamed verses display an intense sense of urgency while the sung choruses soar with beauty. While the vocal transitions in many places here are predictable, this is the only song on the record to feature the famous Killswitch bad cop good cop structure. The first song released from the record “Mr. and Mrs. Cuckoldom”
perfectly showcases their new style. The As I Lay Dying b-side riffs and drop C chugga chug breakdowns are almost completely extinct and in their place are quality blends of melody, atmosphere and heavy riffs with more unique construction. Then there’s the minor detail that there’s not a full section of the song which is purely screamed.
With the dominantly sung vocals and such a strong emphasis in melody, it’s easy to think the record is absent of heaviness. This is not entirely true as there are certainly flashes of the group’s older traits. “Luxuria”
opens with some C chugs which persist throughout the verse in the rhythm section. The riff over it and the singing perfectly link their newer focus with their older traits. When the chorus hits, the smooth octave chords perfectly balance everything out. The guitar and vocal bridge certainly shows off some improved construction and gives the final minute of the song an incredibly dramatic feel. The album closer “A Mountain So Big, A Question So Small”
lies in the same vein. Without a doubt it puts its focus on melody. But flashes of double bass with some lower pitched riffs give it a definite edge in certain sections. Once more the clean guitar and soft vocal interludes give things a definite sense of progression. The atmosphere accented intro and outro guitar parts further show fresh ideas from the group as I, Lucifer
makes a bold statement of change through its dominantly melodic nature.
As bold of a statement as the musical changes make, the lyrics steal the show. Now between being on Solid State and releasing an album title by the name of Saints
which constantly had references to faith, many labeled the group a Christian metalcore band. In reality, the group is just Christians in a metalcore band. Vocalist Chad Ackerman makes a hell (no pun intended) of a debut with the group. The title I, Lucifer
does not refer to Satan, but more so the label of Christianity itself and in general how people label themselves. He hits on this label subject and the connotations that go along with it hard and often. The title track has some of the most powerful lines I’ve heard all year as he calls out groups that market their music based on religion “I will tell them the scriptures/and I will profit from your name./I will sell them the scriptures,/and I will pocket your fame.”
Lines like “I speak of angels,/but host demons instead”
definitely reveal a new vision for the group. No preachy messages, no condescending lines, just words that cut to the core with honesty. The record focuses on a variety of subjects from divorce to everyday struggles, all of which hold the same power and certainly serve as the highlight of the record.
With I, Lucifer
Destroy The Runner bring plenty of surprises up their sleeves. Their debut was so cliché that this change came out of the blue. Their new vision lyrically is downright stunning and incredibly touching. But of course with progression comes problems. While Chad’s lyrics are stellar, his singing can get fairly monotonous. With certain songs not packing a heavy edge and having slightly lackluster construction, the result is sometimes less than spectacular. That is said in the sense that select songs are as easy to ignore as they are to get into. At the same time, plenty of the record is captivating and demands attention. As things come to a close, it becomes quite obvious that Destroy The Runner have found themselves. I, Lucifer
brings a sense of identity to the group. With a new sound and a new vision, Destroy The Runner show notable progression. They might not be fully capitalizing on its full potential just yet, but this is something that will only further blossom and take them to new heights.
-Crumbs For The Murder
-A Pathetic Psalm
-A Mountain So Big, A Question So Small