Review Summary: So Easy Even AOAA Can Do It..
See me I’m fairly forgiving, even understanding. We all go through phases, times of being down in the dumps and times of rising to the occasion. But, I think I speak for everyone when I say life is a seesaw of ups and downs. But who wants to be the fat ass on the opposite end of the seesaw? When your name is Suicide Silence or The Devil Wears Prada you fall into this group.
But then you have bands like Annotations of An Autopsy that decide that it’s time to trim the fat away. AOAA had a little talk with their producer, during this little chat they realized, “hey, since other equally suck ass bands are evolving, we might as well do the same”. Saying that they evolved would be a gross understatement, they don’t even sound like the same band. And here you have it; AOAA newest and most mature work to date, entitled “II: The Reign of Darkness”. Forsaking their death core roots except for a few breakdowns here and there, AOAA steps into the realms of true death metal. Sounds all fine and dandy for the true metal fan.
But what about the vocals, are the pig squeals still there? The answer is yes, but they are used far less frequently. They were almost completely thrown out along with lyrics about severely PMSing women “bleeding from every f’ing hole”. Lyrics as such may still be there, but at least for everyone’s sake there no longer audible. When the vocals are audible though, they make for a good laugh. The occasional “***!”, “Kill!”, “Sit Down!”, and “Punk Ass, you make me f’ing sick!!” all add that much required pinch of comedic value. Even better, there all placed strategically, just so you don’t think that everyone’s favorite band matured too much. Which brings me to the gang shouts that AOAA once popularized on, there still there, but used sparingly. You’ll be happy to find that these core techniques are no longer used as a clutch, instead there replaced with the typical death metal growls, shrieks, and even some whispers.
Which brings me further into the overall vocal presentation; there isn’t too much going on there. Don’t get me wrong, there is some experimentation used here but there used very seldom, never becoming much more than a “little idea”. In short AOAA would benefit greatly from a new vocalist, the current one just isn't good. Even after the 10 layers of studio effect applied to his performance, he still sounds pretty awful. His growls will wear on your patience; they try very hard to sound “evil,”but end up pissing you off. Fortunately, the vocals do shine on some tracks, especially “Catastrophic Hybridization.” In no better words, this song kicks ass from all standpoints; vocally, instrumentally, and from the songwriting end.
Tracks like Catastrophic Hybridization are definitely a huge surprise; maturity in songwriting is most present here. From the very beginning, a surprisingly tasteful melodic guitar line grabs your attention. Subsiding slowly, there’s a slight pause before it weaves out into a three- part double bass beat delivered in quick succession. The drummer does his thing on this track, though not spectacular he makes his presence known. Here the vocals echo in, initiating the start of the ensuing ass kicking. At this point, you know AOAA means business. Here the band formerly introduces you to the riff that you’ll be hearing throughout the track. Some high pitched screams are also employed, the one noteworthy part of his performance. A gang shout is then used, probably to show respect to their “humble beginnings”. The song slows down a little bit, to let you know that there about to do something different. Just before the song became a drag, they figured it was a great time to hit you with a breakdown. They had the right idea, but the breakdown could have been a smidge more original.During the breakdown his growl sounds even more “busy” then usual in a “Whitechapel” type of way. There’s a really “safe” pig squeal of course, which is pretty much the band saying, “we just couldn’t help it, there so cool!”There are even some spoken words here; they make for a really neat change. When the band finishes “breaking it down” they decide to fall back on that same menacing yet repetitive riff played throughout the song, but this time with the drums toned down a little to draw more attention to the main riff. After all is said and done, the band ends this track on a good note with a nice little solo. Nothing special really, just a nice finishing touch; the icing on the cake so to speak.
The truth is, AOAA doesn’t do anything really different. Everything is here, even the pointless album opener that many deathcore bands thrive off. “And So It Begins” is just a minute plus of crap we’ve all heard before. You have the album singles “In Snakes I Bathe” and Cryogenica.” Cryogenica having some of the best guitar playing on the album. Then you have some filler, which sadly is most of the album. Then you have the killer tracks, namely “Emptiness,” “Catastrophic Hybridization, and “Into the Black Slumber.” Into the Black Slumber has some of the best drumming on the album, with a very nice drum solo. AOAA didn't forget the all too abused instrumental track with Roman numerals in the front of the track name. I didn't care too much for this track, and you probably won’t either.
At the end of the day “II: The Reign of Darkness” is a solid release from a band that is determined to remain valid in the scene. In that sense, they have succeeded. With a new vocalist, further improvements in songwriting, and a little more technicality this once behemoth stinker of a band shows potential.
|other reviews of this album|
Great review. I'd give it more of a 3.5 though.
Album Rating: 3.0
thanks, and for anyone wonderring why im reviewing this so soon. theres a stream on there myspace.
Album Rating: 3.0
good review. i thought this was ok, a high 3
Tracks like Catastrophic Hybridization are definitely a huge surprise; maturity in songwriting is no more present here.
I think you mean more present.
“The Reign of Supreme”
II: The Reign of Darkness
Album Rating: 3.0
well not really. i was trying to say that maturity in songwriting was most present on that track. thats my mess up ill fix that now. and thanks for the other correction
agree the vocals are shite. They have matured into something respectable around him though. Good review.
Album Rating: 2.5
between a 2 and a 2.5. It will probably end up a two when I get bored of the solos. Remarkable improvement though despite the vocalist.
Digging: Burning Down Alaska - Values & Virtues
Album Rating: 3.0
See naturally i would of give this a 2.5, but i gave them an extra .5 because there older stuff was terrible and this is showing a massive improvement. In my book, they get points for stepping up.
I like the artwork...looks like Dan Seagrave's work?
Never was a fan of this band, but good review man.
Just some critique on the review:
Rewrite the first two paragraphs as one, and make it far more fluent. I understand what you're saying, but this whole review needs a lot of work in that department. Perhaps you could omit the quotes? They're unnecessary, and they make the review very informal, especially with all the profanity this review utilizes.
Merge the vocal paragraphs and keep it short. You should never spend two paragraphs saying, "the band rarely uses pig squeals now, but the vocal department is still nothing to be proud of. The growls assuage the intensity of the music rather than magnify it. This would be less of a problem had the vocalist not used his growl as a crutch." I said what you said in far less word space.
Keeping on the subject of length, you spend four paragraphs describing a song. Really? Was this necessary? No, it wasn't. You could have said, "Tracks like "Catastrophic Hybridization" are testaments to Annotations of an Autopsy's maturation as musicians. Breakdowns are not used as a crutch, even though the low vocals are. The lack of breakdowns has allowed the band to excite their audience. Evidence is shown with an opening melodic riff that evolves into a recurring, menacing guitar line. Annotations of an Autopsy also changes their musical ideas now, rather than toying with the same tedious idea over and over again."
Also, you need to put quotes around song titles and italicize album titles.
This is incorrect:
namely “Emptiness,” “Catastrophic Hybridization, and “Into the Black Slumber.”
Album Rating: 3.0
well, i spent alot of time describing that song as an opportunity to describe the musicianship of the album. when you look at it as an overall synopsis of the album's sound and not a one track description, it makes more sense.
And i'm not a fan of writing overly formal in my reviews, i intentionally wrote like i did because i feel that writing formal makes it easier to communicate with the reader. Using a thesaurus doesn't make for a good review. I will take your advice in the paragraph construction
(lyrics about severely PMSing women “bleeding from every f’ing hole”)
This is what they needed to what you said, stay valid in the metal scene, it just seems limp to me though
pretty good review dude, I'll pos. There are some small-ish problems though:
1) I agree with Rationalist that you shouldn't spend 3 paragraphs talking about one song. You said that the paragraphs about this song give a synopsis of the whole album, yet you contradict that in your second to last paragraph, where you list half of the album as "filler", but that song as one of the biggest highlights. In that sense, that song can't be a representative of the whole album if it's remarkably better than 90% of the rest
2) there = somewhere (in or at a place) they're = they are
There are countless instances in this review, where you have clearly meant "they are", but have written there instead.
3) your very last sentence reads a bit awkward, I'd correct that
Album doesn't really sound interesting, but the cover sure is kickass
This really sucks, they need to go back to the swamp thing vocals, that's the only good aspect they had.
^Hope your seriously trolling, AOAA have stepped their game up bigtime.
Good review, pos'd.
album is lame
Album Rating: 3.0
kinda tight on time atm, so imma make all the suggested changed asap.
Honesty their last album was one of the worst albums i've ever heard so I'm a little reluctant to buy into this being any good.
It's much easier to read. However, there are several grammatical errors. "There" is a where where you are explaining where something is; "they're" is a contraction of they are. Semicolons are used to turn two sentences into one without a contraction (pretzels taste nice; they can be salty or sweet); commas are used where there is a contraction (pretzels taste nice, and they can be salty or sweet)*.
*You don't really need a comma there, but you see my point.
Album Rating: 3.0
3.0,3.5 = 3.25