Review Summary: As far as post-hardcore goes, this is one of the few truly interesting albums to be released in a while.
The Color Morale are a 5-piece post-hardcore unit from Rockford, IL and on this album are comprised of:
Garret Rapp: Vocals
John Bross: Guitar/Vocals
Justin Hieser: Bass/Vocals
Ramon Mendoza: Guitar
Steve Carey: Drums
As pretty much every review regarding these types of albums state, post-hardcore and related genres (or subgenres, if you prefer) are becoming very crowded scenes. The mid 2000s brought with them hundreds of fresh faces, most of them typically young and occasionally talented. However, the majority of the music created by these new groups tended to lump together in a similar fashion, and became what we know as "generic".
To be reassured, The Color Morale are not victims of this curse. In fact, We All Have Demons is quite an interesting and refreshing, if not perfect, listen. The band certainly possesses talent, and while not completely original, they work with what they have to make something creative. We All Have Demons is a short listen, barely over 34 minutes, yet is compelling enough for a second, and third, (and fourth, blah blah blah) spin.
Now, onto the content.
The guitarists, John and Ramon, are not remarkable, spectacular, virtuosic, incredible players, but are fairly decent. Taking this into account, they are able to create sinister riffs, beautiful atmospheric melodies, like "Resource: Recourse", and innovative passages, such as on "Manumission" and "Hope's Anchor". Garret, who provides vocals (screamed and sung) has some impressive pipes. While his screaming usually only relies on lower-tone and higher-tone, his sung vocals have a tiny southern tinge to them, and are beautiful. His performances on such songs as "Resource: Recourse", "Humannequin", "Manumission" and "Hope's Anchor" showcase his range and his power to dominate a melody, and are definitely a highlight of the album. The lack of studio tricks, auto-tuning, and over-layering is also a major thumbs-up. Unfortunately, the bassist, Justin, is (as usual) lost in the mix. When able to be heard, the bass seems to follow the rhythm guitar and is one of few disappointments on this album. The drummer, Steve, definitely is the most talented of the musicians, providing tricky and interesting rhythms, good but unoriginal fills, and some complex handiwork, but even he cannot save this album of its plague: the breakdown. While not overused, the breakdown still appears in We All Have Demons. Admittedly, it is not utilized particularly well, such as in "Humannequin" and "When One Was Desolate". The song "The Sage of Washington Oaks" is basically just an intro breakdown with some nice vocals at the end. While the breakdowns and the lack of a bassist are hindrances on the band's true talent, they present opportunities for progress and improvement; taking their criticisms into account, TCM have the potential to create a perfect album.
Overall, this album presents ten songs that are varied and have differences, yet flow well with their similarities. It promises major potential for these young men and possibly this genre as a whole. We All Have Demons is not perfect, but it is a fun experience and has lots and lots of promise.