Review Summary: The musical equivalent of being choke-slammed into concrete.
The frustration of the modern society, it is something that every person on the planet is familiar with. The day-in, day-out trudge, the making and breaking of relationships, the bland materialism, it is the summary of the word mediocrity. This mediocrity is a numbing tranquiliser to the system, filling people's lives with purpose and "reason." Yet beneath any person is that boiling tension, the frustration and pain that is locked away. It is the rage of the average person that provides the fuel for Kiss It Goodbye's forty five minute inferno She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
Kiss It Goodbye's sound is best described as an adrenaline fueled maelstrom of Deadguy and later Rorschach. The riffs are long, sludge-influenced bouts of frustrated anger backed up by a thundering rhythm section. In turn the instruments obey the conventions of technical metalcore; off-key time signatures, unusual chorus-verse structure, sudden gaps of silence, repetition and a mountain of dissonance. However what one has to remember is Kiss It Goodbye is a fusion of two bands who pioneered this genre and they understand these rules better than anyone. The guitar riffs are acute but they never stagnate, the chords built around dark, angular grooves. The groove-ridden hooks release an instant rush of blood to the brain as the listener is driven into a world of paranoia by the bass and drums. There is no escape from the relentless wall of sound, the terror of the music just captures and entrances the listener right up until the last minute has ticked away. It is an impressive feet considering the album is visceral even in its more reflective moments and one that can be credited to the emotional depths the music plums.
She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
places its main emphasis upon emotive power.Technical ridiculousness is exchanged for lucid tempos and long repetition. Riffs and basslines are stretched or repeated until the tension reaches breaking point when a blast of drumbeats provides a moment of catharsis. These moments of respite are few and far between though because Andrew Gormley's drumwork is always tight and complex. Ranging from slight of hand tricks to jagged changes in pattern, it is a tense backbone on which Thom Rusnak and Keith Huckins found their intricate instrumentation. Like Rorschach they interlace moments of psychological torment within the ever shifting tempos but unlike their former band there is no black humour intertwined within the bass and the guitar.
The lower tuning of the rhythm section stamps out any irony within these instruments and solidifies the bands wish to make a statement. It is this studied seriousness that deepens the emotional potency of their music. The tempo changes, the repetitiveness and the instrumental mind games create dynamics to the album that expose the ugly truths of the world on a much deeper level. It is on this level that the vocals of Tim Singer truly shine through. His vocal performance upon this album is as chaotic as the music itself, changing from rhythmic screaming to an unrhythmic spoken word without pause. This is nothing new to metalcore however their true power is in their delivery. Singer's vocal performance is not inhuman in fact it is quite the opposite, he sounds like the inner rage of the regular person. His down to earth delivery of the socio-political lyrics gives a hard edge to the words because both the words and the vocal style act as uncomfortable reminder to the listener of not only the flaws in the world around them but also in their own character. As such it is fitting way to round out Kiss It Goodbye's brutal assault.
As a complete attack then, She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
is both an intelligent and merciless barrage. Its attack upon the social, political and psychological aspects of society paints a portrait of an emotionally repressive world slowly cracking at the seams with man's violent obsessions. The music allows for this image to be as far reaching as it is disturbing. Make no mistake this album is a difficult listen; the production suffers from too much reverb and forty five minutes of dissonance and fear is hard to swallow. This album though is a truly haunting and thought-provoking experience. It maybe one that will never be played often but it is one that will leave a lasting impression long after the last chords have flittered away.