Review Summary: Tides of Man, with their first full length release on Rise Records have created a record filled with driving melodies, unique drums, and "goose-bump" inducing vocals.
I am always very skeptical when it comes to new bands, especially bands that I've never heard of signed by Rise. Rise Records is known for usually signing somewhat generic metalcore bands, but with Tides of Man they have signed a band that has a specific style all their own. Upon first listen, there aren't many standout songs besides the incredibly charismatic "Not My Love," which is clearly the definitive track on the album. However, with each listen, the songs became more and more relevant.
The album starts off with "Knowing You Have Arrived." A primarily vocal driven song with spectacular melodies from front man Tilian Pearson. His vocals are very unique, comparisons that come to mind are Johnny Craig (formerly [L]Dance Gavin Dance[L]) and Cody Bonnette ([L]As Cities Burn[L]). This being the first track, it features the stand out aspects of Tides of Man, predominant vocals, unique guitars, and off-beat drums that not only cause the music to flow with legitimacy but that also don't overshadow the other band mate's performances.
The second track is the epic 7 minute song "Create Couldn't Keep Up." This song drags in some parts, but the fantastic harmonies from Tilian make up for it and the song climaxes with a very interesting solo that keeps you hooked. Track 3 is the title track, "Empire Theory." The song is 4 minutes long and the first minute is a soft guitar intro which takes away from the song, which is actually one of the worst on the record. this track also features some of Tilian's more aggressive, yelling vocals.
"Decent from Destiny" is the next track, and has a really fascinating acoustic guitar-like intro, with Tilian coming in around 45 seconds in. This is also one of the more boring tracks on the record, the track feels like its trying to be an epic with lyrics that all start with the same letter for each 4 or 5 lines. (ex. Ever-loathsome, the executor's edict, estranges he from himself, evermore...)
Track 4 goes directly into "Colors Speak True," starting with very heavy drums and a fairly standard guitar part, this is the only instrumental track on the album and it fits well with the other songs and helps segway into track 6 "I Saw Mercy Conquer Hate." This song is very odd, it has a melody that flows with a purpose, and the drums that play fairly standard. The guitars are the standout part of this song, and actually overshadow the vocals for once, which isn't necessarily a good thing.
The next track is "Not My Love," and as I said earlier, it is the best track on the record. This song has an incredibly moving and catchy melody. The vocals have a very "hair-stand-on-end" quality, which make the lyrics have even more meaning. The only downside is the drums don't have the stand out quality that they usually do, its just a standard tom-heavy beat throughout.
After "Not My Love," we are given "Western Scene," which has As Cities Burn like guitars and straightforward vocalization, with not much harmony. The song ends with a Between the Buried and Me riff. Track 9 is "Contents Within." It has exceptional lyrics and shows of the very extensive range of Tilian. Again, guitars and drums take second to vocals. This is one of the only tracks where the bass is even heard as a standalone instrument, otherwise it is almost unheard.
The last track is "Rescue." this song is quite interesting, starting quiet and then building. the guitar and BASS (finally) take the helm on this song until around 2:30 when Tilian starts to yell the lyrics.
Overall, this cd is a great start for a new and upcoming band.
The cons are the bass is almost never heard and this band doesn't fully utilize the 3 gutarists, because the front man is also cited as a guitarist, but there is no definitive part with 3 gutars.
Download: Not My Love