Review Summary: Bland, formulaic metalcore with short-lived highlights.
Rise Records has gotten itself a reputation of signing “by the numbers” metalcore and post hardcore acts in the past. However a resurgance seemed to be on the cards following successful and arguably well received recent releases from Of Machines, In Fear and Faith and Oceana. Newest recruits Miss May I recently recorded the painfully titled “Apologies Are For The Weak”.
There is a common prejudice held by listeners when it comes to metalcore. An acceptable attitude when one remembers some of the Rise Records’ releases of the past (Drop Dead, Gorgeous - In Vogue) being an obvious choice. Gross over-saturation of the genre with bands mindlessly regurgitating At The Gates Gothenburg style riffing and bland open string breakdowns. One could be forgiven for making a judgement of this record prior to even listening to the first track.
The record opens strongly with “Not Our Tomorrow” and “A Dance With Aera Cura” playing enjoyable melodic leads over the slightely predictable downtuned chugging. A notable example in “A Dance With Aera Cura” following the second chorus, a lead reminiscent of Darkest Hour in Undoing Ruin.
"Architect" provides the record's strongest song as the introduction kicks off at break neck speed, it is on this particular song that all positive elements of this record come together perfectly. None of the elements come across as being contrived any way which following this track is altogether obvious.
A strength demonstrated throughout the album is the talent of the lead vocalist who has a remarkable range from raspy shrieks to powerful guttural lows which are interchanged rapidly during the course of the album. He also uses a medium range hardcore style shout in between showing strong vocal variation which plays an integral role in keeping the listener interested. If the generic instrumentation is held aside the drummer shows great use of the double bass pedals and fills nicely between different parts of many of the songs.
However the thrills are shortlived as the band fails to produce anything memorable following the tracks mentioned. A formulaic song structure is followed throughout and a disgusting overuse of breakdowns is prevalent. The very one paced, bland open string breakdowns mentioned surface all too often and highlight the band’s weakness in songwriting. Generic autotuned clean vocals are appropriately placed in the majority of songs as the band rips off the commonly used style of songwriting used in metalcore. They really fail to add any variation to the vocals nor do they add any worthwhile vocal melodies.
There are brief moments of enjoyment such as in “Harlot’s Breath” where the listener is greeted by a bit of reprieve from the constant barrage of downtuned garbage. This comes in the form of a not so intricate solo but a pleasantly melodic one. This however is ruined by a sudden slow down in tempo and then another poorly placed breakdown.
In conclusion, it is clear the band has potential to maybe create a credible piece of material and with their extraordinarily young age (no members over the age of 19) there is room for improvement. A very promising beginning to the album is marred by an all too generic style of songwriting and instrumentation.
Being a fan of the metalcore genre I can forsee many lower ratings given by the rest of the the not so forgiving anti-metalcore listeners. For fans of the genre there is fun to be had listening to the first half of this record, for those not so fanatical I would advise to avoid.
A Dance With Aera Cura
Not Our Tomorrow