Review Summary: Parabelle's 2nd studio album, Reassembling The Icons, perfectly showcases how excellent production quality is pointless if the music itself is pointless
Brilliant albums, utterly ruined by the terrible production quality - this problem has been one of the major disappointments with many albums throughout the history of music. Many listeners simply neglect the record or cannot feel the record grow on them if its overall production quality is awful. Excellent music with poor production quality - a tragedy to many albums. And Parabelle's second studio album, Reassembling The Icons, is exactly the opposite in both the cases: excellent production quality with poor music.
Ever since Evans Blue released their debut album, Kevin Matisyn has been one of the very few mainstream musicians I found myself liking. Both of the albums released by Evans Blue under Kevin were brilliant, especially the second one. Unfortunately, Kevin had to leave Evans Blue and ultimately form Parabelle. And with them, he released their debut double-album which was yet another magnificent album by Kevin, including everything that a rock album should have. Now, within just one year, Parabelle releases their second studio effort. That was fast.
Upon first listen, anyone will be surprised by the improvement in the production quality - no less than excellent and very nostalgically similar to Evans Blue's second album, the Pursuit. Surely, it is no surprise as Kevin brought back Mike Langford, who recorded Evans Blue's first two albums, into the fray. However, what good will production quality do if the songs are not good themselves?
The album opener, "The Clocks", would tend to give you the impression that the album would not only be hard, but also very energetic and as good as the Evans Blue albums - a point further confirmed by the next track, "More" and "Kiss The Flag: The Widow". And that is all.
The first thought that came to my mind after scrutinizing the album would be: "They should have taken some more time before writing a new album". When you have heard Evans Blue's Pursuit, it becomes automatically clear that this album suffers from lack of innovation and there is very little variation overall, and it is all due to the fact that they released an album without taking enough time to write good enough material. The same style of guitars going on and on and on throughout the whole album; disappointingly sluggish-slow choruses in each and every song; and even though the vocal performances are excellent, there is little variation to it. No growls. No fast verses. Only limp, sluggish, slow singing - and even though these slow verses are applied perfectly, it only adds to the monotony of the album.
The slow verses now brings us to the lack of energy of the album. Even though the album starts off with a few energetic songs, what little energy the album had in its first few songs disappears midway and retains this lacking to the end. Yes, the intro of "Twisted And Turned" will make you seem like the album would end with an explosion. But the energy only lasts for the first 15 seconds, and then turns into all those "other" songs in the album. Fans who have been expecting heavier and harder material from them (like "Pray To The Pessimist" from their debut) in this album, consider your expectations disappointed. You are only getting non-energetic monotonous songs, followed by a very VERY average acoustic version of the song, "Pray To The Pessimist" in the form of "Pray" to end this disappointing album.
Although Parabelle's second studio album is quite possibly the worst effort by Kevin Matisyn up-to-date, it is very generic to all those other successful mainstream rock acts out there with a subtle feel to it. If you are a fan of all those non-unique stereotypical rock bands out there, you may actually like this album. After all, if you can like Bullet For My Valentine's "Fever", I think Parabelle's "Reassembling The Icons" may deliberately make it to your favorites list. For people who tend to look for variation, innovative songs, and energy in their music, I have to say that this is not your cup of tea.
Overall, "Reassembling The Icons" is an agonizingly average album, but when the bands musicians have written outstanding materials in the past (all three albums released by Kevin in the past, in this case), any average material automatically becomes bad because of the major disappointment it carries.
Recommended Tracks (for people who look for some variation and energy and whatsoever):
"Kiss The Flag : The Widow"