Review Summary: With the release of their new album ‘Atonement’, Your Memorial somehow manages to coax fresh ideas out of an all too familiar genre.
Metalcore. Yeah, we all know what it is. The term needs no formal explanation. Usually when a band new to the scene drops a debut album, a monotonous mixture of breakdowns, two-step passages, and occasional melodic choruses can be expected. But sometimes, a band emerges that breaks free from the chains of redundancy, while still implementing the common song structures that define the genre. Your Memorial’s ‘Atonement’ is proof that this (seemingly) dying genre still shows the faint sign of a pulse.
Take Misery Signals, After the Burial, and maybe a little sprinkle of Volumes, put them in a blender, and turn the sucker on. What do you get? A gross, frothy soft drink made from human bodies. But take each band’s music and put it in a metaphorical blender and the sparks will fly. A band’s ability to do this is an impressive feat in and of itself. However, what is most impressive is not that Your Memorial has created a fine blend of influences, but that they did so without sounding too much like any one band. This is far from a cookie-cutter release, though in concept it may not seem particularly original…
On paper, Your Memorial’s songwriting elements don’t look too impressive. Yes there are breakdowns. Yes there are some two-step passages. Yes there is some singing. But what sets this young Minnesotan band apart is that they use these elements appropriately and progressively, tightly lacing them with melody and atmosphere.
You may be thinking, “That’s all well and dandy, but does the album get repetitive?”
The answer is no simple “yes” or “no”. I find that with this release, the line between repetition and cohesion is blurred. It may be surprising at times that the next song has already begun, but it seems as though it is more due to the tight focus of the album rather than each song sounding the same as the last. Because of this, it has been hard for me to make up my mind on the issue, though I am leaning more towards the side of cohesion.
Production-wise, Karl Schubach of Misery Signals gave this band what they deserved, allowing each instrument to blend and work together, rather than having just one “star of the show”. With that said, each instrument seems to know its place. The drums are nothing especially technical, but they are tactful, powerful, and perfect for the music. The bass works with the drums to provide a solid rhythmic basis for each song instead of wandering off and doing its own thing. Both guitars work together wonderfully, showcasing the bands ability to provide everything from tasteful melodic solos to pummeling breakdowns. Vocals tie off the package with strength, but not brute force, which in turn allows them to mix well with the rest of the instruments while still maintaining their importance. The occasional singing that can be found on ‘Atonement’ is nothing to necessarily write home about, but the lack of ridiculous auto-tuning that is all too common nowadays keeps it refreshingly natural. The lyrics, from what I understand, are inspirational and heartfelt but they cannot be found online right now, so I have yet to really analyze them.
While their song structures may not be the most original, Your Memorial packs a strong punch with ‘Atonement’, leaving you with melodies and breakdowns that may be stuck in your head for days. But will they stand the test of time? Either way, this is certainly a band to look out for in the next few years.
- Great mixture of instrumentals
- Powerful vocals
- Well polished sound
- Potentially repetitive
- Not the most original song structures