Review Summary: A great album whose flaws, though present, don't deter the listener from a good experience.
Earthsblood is title most of us knew in the weeks following it's release seeing as it was highly advertised and anticipated by some. And after the initial critical acclaim dishing out mostly praise, it disappeared from the spotlight. The album, while good, seemed to not have toppled 'Constitution of Treason', which helped the band garner most of the attention this release warranted. Almost immediately following Earthsblood's release, guitarist Dallas Coyle left the band with little explanation, being replaced by ex Darkest hour guitarist Kris Norris for the time being. So why exactly did the band take 5 years to write this CD? Well the effort really shines here, though it feels sometimes forced.
The Cd starts with an instrumental, beginning with piano, and followed by guitars and an entire orchestra, though 'The Discovery' is a well written introduction, it doesn't quite match the atmosphere of the album, nor the intro of the next song: 'The Rain'. Apparently Dallas and his brother had written it for use in another side project, but used it here instead (with less emphasis on the guitars). Though the song is well-done, I have to question the choice of the 'Instrumental opening' which most albums begin with these days. Was the band really trying to create a tone for the record? Were they actually writing from the heart? Or just noticing the formula and applying it here.
After the initial over-analysis and disappointment of the introduction, The listener is thrust in to 'the Rain', an excellent song, which showcases the groups ability to integrate melodic vocals into a song without completely ruining it, the vocals in this song are honestly spectacular, from Bryon Davis' opening scream through Dallas and Doc Coyle singing the chorus, you'll be amazed. The song includes not one, but 2 solos, they're done very tastefully too, not forced in for more 'solo attraction'.
The album is quite well composed mostly, my few issues mostly included how blatantly it seems that the band wanted it to reach success, with the obvious single-worthy 'Walk Alone', which is an OK song, nothing amazing, but doesn't really contribute to the record, and the amount of solos. Almost every song has a solo, and 2 or 3 of them even include more than 1, though they're well executed, you can pick out the song pattern after your first listen.
Some of the songs are a complete try and fail at being 'epic'. An example is the title track, Earthsblood runs for a little over 9 minutes, and is utterly repetitive. It begins with a beautifully plucked out introduction, that is then interrupted by distorted chugging. The main problem with these instrumental intro's to me is the bands lack of capability at bridging them back into the song. Although other songs (Bat The Angels, Shallow) show how God Forbid have drawn from heavier influences then Earthsblood's predecessors.
The CD did live for some time before I grew sick of it, probably 3 months or so, and perhaps that's why my review may seem to be picking knots out of a great album, because of over listening. So in terms of replayability, it's totally worth your twenty bucks.
The production quality is stellar, except for the almost absent bass, it's sunk below the mix like so many of today's bands. The guitarists are even better than on 'constitution,' and they have several guest appearances to join their ranks on Earthsblood.
The cover art (though it may seem unimportant) is really good, you really get the feel of it through this album, and the CD book is well done also.
Earthsbloods high points are its vocals, which are simply the best part of each song and the solos, which, though you may grow tiresome of them, are really well engineered to fit each song, not just thrown in a la Slayer. The song writing has improved from Constitution of Treason considerably, but then again, I wasn't a huge fan of that one. To me, God Forbid always sounded like a very cliche metal band, extremely talented at what they do, but nothing new.
It may seem throughout this review that I'm contradicting myself, the truth is, I loved Earthsblood, but only after i got sick of it did I notice it's weaker points, and now that my love affair with it has ended, I feel almost rejection towards it. I struggled for quite some time with the wording and stances in this review and am still not 100% satisfied with it, but ah well. It's a great album in many ways, but it's flaws are present and noticeable.
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