Review Summary: Unimaginative, immature, and overreaching. AGRACEFUL steers their potential in the wrong direction, with unfortunate results.
Sometimes, the fame of a new member carries the soon-to-be-popularity of a new group. Such is the case with Agraceful's debut, The Great I Am. The claim to fame for this band would be they have the ex-Emarosa singer as their front man. Ironically, Emarosa gained popularity for having the ex-Dance Gavin Dance singer. Moving on to the review itself, here goes:
The album is fairly disappointing. What could have been entertaining was marred by uninventive playing, bad mixing, and boring songwriting. The guitarists constantly illustrate their abilities of melodic and creative runs, but the execution is ineffective. The drummer follows a repetitive pop-punk / metalcore routine with mixing that brings cymbals and clicky bass to the front. The mixing of the guitars brings trebles to the front, and the low end (Along with the whole bass part) is sucked to the background.
The vocalist is eager to show off what he's learned since Emarosa, and he certainly does. Unfortunately, for the sake of songwriting, he should have taken it down a notch. His clean voice is good, although obviously layered, but the problem comes from his screams. He mainly uses a higher scratchy scream, but now he dips into low growls and yells. The growls sound fine on their own, but they rarely fit the music. If used more effectively than random switching, it would have been more effective, but it seems regardless of the music, he just does whatever he wants.
The songs are fairly repetitive, and the album ends up sounding almost the same on each song. The choruses are generic and almost all of them follow the same pattern. The verses are unimaginative metalcore playing with some occasional catchy melodic leads. Another thing is breakdowns. Lots of them. While everyone will draw their own opinion on those, I'm going to go ahead and call that a negative. Repetitive writing coupled with immature lyrics brings down this album that had potential for so much more.
The lyrics generally follow a boring faux-emo style. For example:
“The water is rising above my neck
The tide, it is pulling me farther away from everything
That I have grown to love
Away from everything I know
Pull me back in
With all this said I know that you're afraid
But I can't go on unless you're next to me
Take me now”
"AGRACEFUL packs a definite punch on their debut Sumerian release "THE GREAT I AM." The record has everything from incredible vocal melodies to pummeling, intense breakdowns that would give the most heavy extreme band something to talk about. THE GREAT I AM has those parts that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up while vocalist Chris Roetter is singing his ever so passionate lyrics. The message is something AGRACEFUL taps into quite frequently as they are a Christian band with something to say rather than be labeled something that they are not."
That is their description on their labels website. This illustrates common marketing techniques. Like lying.
In the end, this album comes across as a badly mixed, badly executed attempt. But it's a badly mixed, badly executed FIRST attempt. If they grow from their flaws, they might live up to some of the hype their label seems to adore. Hopefully, they try again with more vigor and a little more bass, and maybe then we'll remember them.