Review Summary: An album that forces nothing, pushes no boundaries, and avoids the plagues of metalcore debuts.
Las Vegas Nevada’s Destruction of a Rose show in their debut album that sometimes simplicity is the biggest thing missing in metal and hardcore music. Rather than focusing on how to make bigger, heavier, more crushing breakdowns, DOAR paradoxically escapes convention by being conventional. The riffing in the album is catchy because instead of opting for speed and crushing heaviness, the band opts for honest emotion in the instrumentation. Turn to the song “63” to see exactly what I mean. The riff is simple and has a sort of familiarity that makes it happily addicting.
Aside from the riffing, Evan Foxx has a vocal presence that is very distinctive within the genre. His vocals are far from the Karl Schubach vocal style that seemingly every band has adopted. His throaty, emotive vocals drive his very personal lyrical approach very well. His throaty bellows deal with questioning his own self worth and values through what appear to be myriad alcohol and drug related problems. What makes Evan Foxx distinctive as a vocalist is his scathing, supersonic scream. Instead of being a conventional high harsh vocal style, it is an attention grabbing, vibrating, and demonic scream that completes the “Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” aspect to his vocals.
While the album falls into a familiar trap of opening the first song with a breakdown, ironically it is one of the only breakdowns in the album. Fortunately, within the first phrase of the first verse the vocals are highlighted. Behind a basic but moving riff Foxx bellows and contrasts his Jekyll and Hyde styles, with the supersonic scream mirroring his inner vices throughout the story line of the album. It seems very schizophrenic (albeit clichéd) when he begins with:
“You said you loved me / I should have seen it coming
/ Once bitten, the only option is to suck out the poison.”
The biggest positive of the album is the songwriting. Instead of pumping out breakdowns, the band has written very solid verses and bridges that utilize chugging only to a minimal degree and focus more on catchy riffing and an occasional country twang, such as at the end of the stupidly named “Open Your Eyes, Not Your Legs.”
While clean vocals are utilized to a small degree, it doesn’t hinder the flow of the album like one would expect. The tone and style are similar to Josh Gilbert of As I Lay Dying and provide additional melody to the more heartfelt parts of a couple songs.
I don’t have a ton to say about the album, it may come across to many as contrived or boring, but several parts of this album have been stuck in my head for almost a year now. The album succeeds by having a few distinct and memorable passages, good songwriting, and by avoiding almost every pitfall of modern metalcore.