Review Summary: Johnny Truant finish on a great metal album, but are unable to recreate the magic of 'In The Library...'
After 2005, Johnny Truant had a very diffiult task - to make an album equal or better than 'In the Library Of Horrific Events'. With 'In The Library..', the band found the perfect balance between brutal and beautiful, producing one of the best metal albums ever to come out of England. With the follow-up album 'No Tears For The Creatures', the band ditches the winning formula to produce a great but unoriginal metalcore album.
So why the change? The addition of an extra guitarist certainly allowed the band to become much heavier. This change is notable on the tracks 'Death Rides' and 'Widower', where both tracks begin with every instrument blaring in your face, and not stopping until the song is finished. The latter track features guest vocals from Wade McNeil of Alexisonfire, adding much needed variety to the song. The production of the album also affects its impact greatly, with vocals and guitars now much louder than before. This drowns out the bass and much of the otherwise brilliant drums, unfortunately leading towards a much more generic metalcore sound. The production of their older work was never great, but it gave the albums character, something that this release lacks in comparison. Fortunately, the musicianship goes a long way to help the album.
The album also sees a return of 'The Repercussions Of A Badly Planned Suicide' style song lengths, with four of the ten tracks at around six minutes or longer. The first of these, 'Last Arms Of The Apocalypse', is almost like a collection of miniture songs put together. It features clever time changes, fun drumming, and is a welcome respite from the impact of the first two aggressive tracks. Of middle of the album, 'Crush & Devour' and 'In Alcoholica' are nothing more than very good metal songs, the former having a great finish. 'Dead Ship Sinking' is the worst track on the album, excelling at nothing but being filler.
But not everything has changed about the band. There is still not a chorus to be found in the entire album, with each song as before building up to a grand finish, or telling a story. Although this sounds like it could get repetitive, it simply doesn't. Furthermore, the lyrics that made older albums shine are still present, although not as much. Tracks like 'Sunshine Driver' and the album highlight 'Fog Lights' really shine against the unimaginative lyrics of the aforementioned 'Widower' and the album opener 'The Grotesque'. Again, whilst being good songs, they lose their appeal through inadequate production. The album is saved by its highlights though, and the last two songs are the best examples of this. The songs merge flawlessly into each other, the first portraying despair, and the second hope. It ends the album with such energy that you cant help but forgive it for many of its flaws.
The last album Johnny Truant gave us was an ugly monster. It was their loudest, heaviest, and most professional work to date, but far from their best. It lacks the adventurousness of 'Repercussions...' and the beautiful brilliance of 'In The Library...'. However, I think that as a band, they were never going to produce such a fantastic album ever again. What they finished on is, with the except of the last two tracks, a solid collection of metal songs, that shouldn't be compared to older works.
'One day my precious son,
you'll be a lion.
You'll hold your head up higher than the sun.
Where is heaven?'
Crush and Devour