Review Summary: Since when does progressing require you to become more melodic?
Apparently I missed the memo that went out a few years back claiming that becoming more progressive means you need to become more melodic, more gimmicky, and more mainstream accessible. From A Second Story Window clearly did not miss it, in fact they seem to have taken it to heart with their newest release, Conversations
. Sure, Will Jackson's clean vocals are more impressive than most vocalists in the genre, but even so, the entire album feels vaguely familiar from start to finish.
Conversations kicks off with Most of Us Are Normal
, a 3 minute ballad filled entirely with clean vocals and relatively simple instrumentation. While the entire album is
a complete departure from their previous work, this song seems to be heading in an entirely different direction by showing you that the old FASSW is gone and dead. I do need to give the band credit for attempting to start off an album with such a slow track instead of waiting until the halfway mark though. Next up,Self Admitted
makes its way into play with a smooth and nearly inaudible transition. Paul Misko and Rob Hileman start things off with some admittedly catchy riffage, followed by the rest of the band joining in. Jackson's growls make their way back into the band's sound with this track, however without the same chaotic style the previous releases had, this attempt just seems lackluster. As the third track starts up, things start to sound familiar and monotonous. You just have to wonder, who the hell came up with the idea that more melody is a good thing? Sure you may get a fanbase filled with less neckbeards and manly men, but you would think the fact that this album has been done thousands of times before would have occurred to you at some point during production. And sure, bands need to like the music they play, I get that, but it's not good when your lyrics become as boring and talentless as the 3 or 4 chords playing throughout every track that seem to drown out anything other than the vocals and the bassist.
I really feel sorry for Nick Huffman(drums) and Joe Sudrovic(bass guitar) in this release. They're only audible during the parts of any given song where everything isn't distorted to hell and back, and drowned out by the vocals to the point that only screaming and 4 chords being played over and over can be heard. On top of that, the band rarely strays from the typical "growling on top of chaos, and singing on top of softer music" combination that, again, has been made thousands of times before. Track 5, The Burning Bush
manages to offer us a bit of relief by avoiding clean singing throughout its nearly 3 minute time span. Although it does give you a breath of fresh air, it still doesn't compare to their previous work. The chaos and heaviness is gone and has been replaced with melody, and although clean vocals are absent for this track, it sounds like you've heard it before, in fact it vaguely sounds like it draws influence from The Ghost Inside and August Burns Red. But, just as quickly as we were pulled out of the generic metalcore, we're thrown back in. Severed Heads Open Minds
comes on with an extremely overdone intro scream. The drums do manage to make their way into audibility with some fairly heavy blast beats, but almost immediately afterwords fade back into the pattern of taking away from the already unimpressive release.
Now, while some people will argue that Conversations
was a successful venture into new territory, they're completely wrong. The entire album seems to be a regression, and seems to be drawing influence from any "MTV2 metalcore" group in existence. If you liked Not One Word Has Been Omitted
, I suggest you stay away from this album. However, if you're just looking for another metalcore outfit that you can listen to with your friends as you watch repeats of Viva La Bam and Rob and Big, or eat lunchroom food while headbanging, then go ahead