Review Summary: Maybe the most intriguingly awkward transition album of all timeThe Opposite Of December
was an instant classic and an album that put an intense spotlight on Poison The Well. They blew the doors off on combining melody with untethered aggression. However, at the time that Poison the Well was set to write their follow-up to such a genre-defining album, they must have noticed how many bands were coming out of the woodwork and taking their basic sound, piggy-backing on something that at the time was incredibly original. This molesting of their sound within the scene seemed like it could have been the death of Poison The Well, the option of being drowned in a sea of their own imitators seemed very legitimate. However PTW has always had something that their imitators have never had: the flair for experimentation.
In many ways Tear From The Red
can be seen as an extension of The Opposite Of December
. The balance between melody and aggression is still there, something PTW has perfected and revolutionized. “Botchla” kicks the album off perfectly, with a softly strummed opening of ”but I adore her”
followed by a kick in the chest. This song also lets things know that some things have changed. PTW decided to go in a slightly more straightforward direction, with more passages that seem that they wouldn’t be out of place on a hard rock album. The jury is out on whether or not this change of direction was done to combat and distance themselves from their imitators or if it was the result of their rushed recording schedule, but those passages don’t really mesh well with the harder parts of the album and feel a bit tacked on.
Jeffrey Moreira’s vocals once again amaze. His gut-wrenching scream and heartfelt singing perfectly juxtapose each other in a way that bands forced to use two vocalists simply cannot achieve. His vocals make you believe and accept the lyrics he puts forth, despite the fact that on more than one occasion a line or two will make you cringe. There is an air of authenticity to his words that seem to make the clichéd lines feel genuine. Tear From The Red
is still full of dissonance and unbridled aggression, but it just doesn’t seem to hit as hard as The Opposite Of December
. The breakdowns that riddle the album are slightly more stale, and the guitar lines and drumming don’t have quite the same effect as their debut.
Tear From The Red
still has many high points however. “Rings From Corona” is an absolute killer of a song, with a feeling of desperation that pervades the entire song. The aforementioned “Botchla” and “Turn Down Elliot” have absolute moments of brilliance that shows the band firing on all cylinders. The closer is the real gem here though, where bone-crushing aggression fills the song for the first two minutes, with an almost perfectly serene middle section, causing a “calm in the eye of the storm” effect.
Poison The Well’s sophomore album shows a band in a state of awkward transition. Needing to distance themselves from the flooded sea of bands that had taken their ideas caused Tear From The Red
to be a mish-mash of proven ideas and uncomfortable experimentation. However, there is a very strangely appealing aspect to the album that makes it very listenable despite its many flaws. To this day Tear From The Red
is Poison The Well’s most accessible album, one that is an incredibly intriguing listen. This album will always be the low point in the metalcore innovator’s early catalogue, yet is still better than the majority of albums that have popped up trying to copy the sound of Poison The Well.