Review Summary: Central PA is turning out to be a breeding ground for bands, too bad most of them sound alike.
Being from Central Pennsylvania, I’m very protective of the bands that come from the depths of the endless country side. The most notable ones being August Burns Red, THIS or THE Apocalypse, and Texas In July, and minor ones being I Sea Monsters, and An Early Ending. But none the less, I scream 717 to anyone not from my “scene”. Texas In July has released a full album this time named I Am, and after picking it up from my friend, I was anxious to see how much they have improved from their memorable Salt of The Earth .
The answer was not much, and actually I am kind of disappointed. These guys are amazing live, one of the best I have ever seen, other than the likes of Every Time I Die, August Burns Red, Underoath, and The Devil Wears Prada. But I Am is nothing to listen to repeatedly. It has some interesting guitar work, and top notch drumming. But that isn’t enough to save it from the same repetitiveness that August Burns Red fell into. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what song is which. There are definitely stand out songs like Elements, Hook Line and Sinner, Aurora. But most of the songs are skip able, unless you are going to see them live and you want to know where the breakneck breakdowns come in.
The thing that saves TIJ from being forgotten in the Amish backyard that is Lancaster PA, is more than adept drummer, he nearly rivals Matt of ABR. His double bass skills are mind blowing, and his ability to flow easily from breakdowns to technical fills is amazing. But again, lack of imagination and repetition kills it. The guitars are just there, but there are memorable moments in songs like Reflections and It’s Not My First Rodeo. The breakdowns are just as common as in any ABR song, but some of them are actually better, and not just throw in to be there. There’s not much more to say, they are better than most metalcore bands, but then again it’s a bunch of chugging and repeated riffs, the beginning of Reflections almost sounds the same as a riff in Hook Line and Sinner. The vocals are nothing special, the vocalist usually stay in a mid to low range, and really never strays out of it. He does have a strong scream though, and it stands out, and fits the music well. The gang vocals are what really caught me, like in Elements, “I am the fire, the wind and the sea!” makes the song fun and energetic. That’s mainly what attracted me to the Salt Of The Earth ep.
Overall, if Texas In July would become more creative, they could step out of the shadow that August Burns Red has cast over them. With a few outstanding moments they begin to creep out, but it pulls them back once again with the breakdowns and guitar work. This isn’t a horrible album, if you just want something fast and heavy to listen to, it’s great, but you could also listen to August Burns Red and get the same effect.