Review Summary: It's not bad. But that sure as hell doesn't mean it's good, either.
In what may seem like a horribly unrelated topic, I would like to begin with an anecdote. I took part in a musical a few weeks ago, one with quite a bit of success. And anyone with experience in that field of theatre knows the problem that comes with hearing non-stop musical numbers is at one point or another, they will
get stuck in your head. In relation to this review, I was at home one night, absently humming the shows first big number, “Give Them What They Want”, while hopelessly flicking through some new metalcore albums on iTunes. Suddenly, a little light went off in my head. Is it just me, or is 80% of the 00’s metalcore just spewing garbage to ‘give ‘em what they want’? From an outside perspective, it seems as if these bands just hear the public crying a desperate plea for breakdowns, when, in actuality, we’re giving them the same expression a puppy may give an incoming steamroller. What better album to prove this (not groundbreaking) hypothesis than Sea of Treachery
’s At Daggers Drawn
The album has its ups and downs. It’s saving point seems to be the ability to be put on absently, to bob your head to it, or, if the situation permits, mosh the f*** out. You won’t find any insane riffage or complicated breakdowns. You won’t be replaying the songs for their songwriting ability, their talent, or their memorability. You most certainly won’t be playing it for a ‘brutality’ factor, either. You’ll play it because it’s so familiar. Run of the mill drop-C chugs with some catchy riffing plays in and around the inaudible bass (go figure), the average double bass loving drums, and the semi-enjoyable vocal performance. The five piece doesn’t reach any kind of zen with their playing, they just hit a sound so incredibly average, it makes for an astoundingly easy listen. Unless, of course, you’re looking for something with actual meat on the bones, and get fed up after the eighth breakdown (Which occurs somewhere in the third song. Seriously.)
Although this band sounds like the aural equivalent of a mugging at this point, they’re legitimately not that awful. The album has many pro’s, such as great flow, a non overuse of blast beats, and a listenable sound. Also, the vocalist is the only reason the album doesn’t crash and burn somewhere in the first few songs. Mixing a good amount of highs and lows, he makes the songs somewhat enjoyable, a job countless other singers can barely aspire to.
Certain highlight songs on the album have the potential to blow the rest out of the water, such as “An Endless Cycle of Torture” and “On the Wings of Pegasus”. Some, undoubtedly, have the unfortunate ability to be completely inseparable from the others. They usually come in the sadly familiar form of hit-and-miss moments. Examples would be sparse clean vocal choruses with far too much production that come of as half assed attempts at further defining average metalcore, awkwardly found only about four times over the course of the album.
In the end, it’s the familiar game of giving the people what they want. Forty three minutes of the same song over and over again would please a crowd that wants to be entertained, but not one that wants substance.
Sadly, like a tired old hooker, people just keep coming back for more.