Review Summary: A talented band, but not yet ready for the big leagues.
Rise To Remains ascent to being a worthy name in the UK metal scene appeared seemingly from nowhere, with tours with such heavy hitters as Five Finger Death Punch and Trivium giving the band an incredible platform from which to launch their career. How much the fact that lead singer Austin is the son of Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson influenced the creation of these opportunities is open to debate, especially considering how early into their venture, and with only a six track E.P. to their name, they are able to carve out such high profile slots. This aside, I would argue that no matter how they were able to achieve such rapid fame, they certainly did not do so without a degree of talent.
This debut batch of songs, whilst for the most part revealing a band still in their formulative stages and therefore sounding still the sum of their influences, shows a deal of instrumental chops and song writing aptitude that can only bode well for their future. On first listen, it is apparent that lead guitarist Ben Tovey dominates, introducing himself with some absolutely stellar lead work that provide the songs with both emotive resonance and captivating technically. The guitar solo in opener ‘Bridges Will Burn’ is for me clearly the album highlight, as Tovey treats us to a section of soaring melodic sensitivity before finishing with a barrage of sweep arpeggios, complimenting the slower segment with some shred intensity.
Aforementioned vocalist Austin Dickinson also impresses, yet is not without his faults. His harsh voice, although being strong (the opening scream, and indeed the majority of his singing in ‘Illusive Existence’, are particularly stirring) is yet to develop any real character or distinguishing qualities, as he moves from guttural roars and high pitch shrieks, a technique which is all to often over employed and used without any care and attention as to where each would be more effective. His clean voice may also pose an issue for some, with Dickinson visibly struggling to retain the strength needed to hit the high notes that he attempts (’Nothing Left‘), and an occasionally whiny characteristic creeping into the tracks. Yet, he certainly does possess an adequate voice, with more than enough skill to improve.
Drummer Pat Lundy is extremely competent, imparting a performance that contains enough restraint and vigour to equally carry and enhance the songs. The frequently utilized double bass is tight and appropriate throughout the album, and Lundy attacks his kit with a technical proficiency and an awareness of moderation that is essential in any metal drummer.
All in all, Rise To Remain are undoubtedly a future force. Their songs certainly do not break any new ground, with their harsh verse/clean chorus approach presenting the standard mainstream metal formula that has been the making, and downfall, of a glut of recent bands, yet the presence of some truly remarkable musicianship suggests that the outfit has the tools to elevate themselves above the stock metal acts. The fact that they have been shunted into the limelight, prematurely in my view, and before they have had time to develop their craft into something that is capable of gaining the masses attention, could have a damaging effect on Rise To Remain. I for one am curious to see where they go from here.