Review Summary: The Red Shore make huge strides from previous efforts and create a memorable, creative full-length.
After The Red Shore lost Jamie Hope in 2009 after releasing Lost Verses, little knowledge was given on the sound TRS were going to try to achieve in the future. Lost Verses was almost a backwards approach to deathcore with some very welcome use of symphonic elements. While Unconsecrated was a very good technical death metal debut CD, it suffered from un-listenability and repetitiveness when trying to listen to it from start to finish. With the departure of drummer Jake Green from TRS in 2009 as well, little was actually known and much was speculated about the future of the Aussie band. When it all boils down to it, The Avarice Of Man is a huge step up from Lost Verses and even Unconsecrated in nearly all fields.
I'll start with the new members. Chase Butler is featured on The Avarice Of Main as the band's new vocalist. His tone is well above average. Chase is a completely different vocalist that Jamie or even Damien. While Jamie mixed high screeching and low growls (very Mitch Lucker esque), Chase blasts through The Avarice Of Man with a furious roar and never lets up. He also displays more skills than past vocalists at keeping up a fast pace when belting out multi-syllable sentences. While this drastic change in the band's vocal delivery may be a turn-off at first, it almost feels like a refreshing feel for TRS to actually have a vocalist with a signature tone he sticks to consistently. Chase is also a step up for the band lyrically from Jamie, but is about on par with Damien. The Avarice Of Man is basically a concept of an entity that grows from disdain of material wealth and the lust for power of humanity, and destroys mankind so that it can start again new. Overall, Chase brings a different (to say the least) side of The Red Shore to light and really accents the ferocity of the music with his vocals.
Tim Shearman replaces Jake Green (Unconsecrated, Lost Verses) in The Red Shore and like Chase, his addition is a welcome one. Tim bring a whole new, creative side to deathcore drumming that very few have heard before or would have expected on The Avarice Of Man. Tim's fills and cymbal usage combine to create a very enjoyable and well-produced drumming experience for listeners. While few will say that Tim does a little too much than Jake did, it's very safe to say that this is the most creative Red Shore effort so far in the drumming category. Jake did best Tim in the speed category, but let's be honest: deathcore drumming needs something more than constant blast beats and simplistic fills. Make no mistake: the new members add a lot of positives and few negatives.
I'll divulge into the few negatives of The Avarice Of Man. While I may be a "fanboy" by traditional standards, I did not like Unconsecrated very much. If anything, The Avarice Of Man is actually a more technical version of Unconsecrated. Songs are a bit too long on this cd. 'Awakening," "The Seed Of Annihilation," and "Of First And Last Things" all could have benefitted from less repetitiveness and a shorter time. Another small negative is the lack of guitar soloing. The straight-forward brutality can get slightly old, and more solos would have benefitted TAOM greatly. "Creation" and "The Union" are also completely unnecessary filler tracks that they could've done without.
The positives of TAOM are overwhelming. As stated earlier, the vocal and drumming departments have improved immensely. Chase and Tim are great additions to the band and really add aggressiveness to The Red Shore that was lacking on efforts previous. Guitar riffs are in abundance as well (even if solos are lacking) and TRS rarely delve into open chugging or monotonous clean passages. "All Too Human" and "Reduced To Ruin" offer up tasty riffs and use just the right amount of repetitiveness to keep them memorable without coming off as lazy. "The Avarice Of Man" is a really tight and intricate song that still maintains the title of "heaviest song" on TAOM. Bass guitar is audible most of the time, and this CD does not fall victim of overproduction or constant bass drops that seem to plague many of their peers.
Overall, The Avarice Of Man captures the sound of a very good deathcore band. This is the band's defining record to date and is sure to please old fans and new listeners alike. Riffing is plentiful, breakdowns are used sparingly, and the lyrics and sound perfectly compliment the concept of the CD. The Avarice Of Man portrays a dark time in society with dark, beautiful music. Well done mates.
Human, All Too Human
Reduced To Ruin