The Dear Hunter
Act II: The Meaning of, & All Things Regarding Ms. Leading


5.0
classic

Review

by Michael Giguere USER (3 Reviews)
March 21st, 2012 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Listening to this album feels like watching a great movie. It's grand and cinematic without overdoing it.

I think in order to enjoy progressive rock, there has to be a certain amount of cheesiness inside you. How else could one put up with ridiculously named characters, absurdly long album/song titles, and abrupt shifts in style? I mean seriously, Casey Crescenzo wrote over 120 minutes of music for this album and had to trim it down to 80! If that doesn’t scream over the top, I’m not really sure what does.

Why then, in light of all of the preposterously bombastic tracks that Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading brings to the table, does it kick so much ass?

What this album does well

Vocals. I’m a huge fan of bands that utilize a vocalist’s strengths to the best of their abilities. Often, you’ll find a band with a weak singer end up being successful because they know how to complement their sound well. That isn’t the case at all with Act II, because I personally think Crescenzo could hold his own against those American Idol idiots with his tenor to baritone range. A few tracks that take advantage of his voice are “The Procession” (particularly during the chorus), “The Lake and the River” (a long song that seems to tell its own story), and “The Church and the Dime” (an emotionally charged slow jam that uses his full range). Oh, and The Dear Hunter certainly know how to harmonize with each other while we’re on the topic of vocals. The second chorus of “The Bitter Suite 3: Embrace” is gorgeous with the backing vocalist coming in.

Outbursts. I really don’t know a better word for this. Their choruses just have more punch than I’ve heard in a long time. Take the transition into “The Procession” for example. All of the sudden, a cascade of guitars, cymbals, and organs move the album along the path of the story being told without feeling forced. These moments occur often, most frequently during the well-constructed choruses.

Cinematic effects. The Dear Hunter uses a lot of weird sound effects and instruments that would otherwise feel out of place were it not for their perfect balance with the album as a whole. You can get a better feel for this by listening to “Vital Vessel Vindicates”, a throwback for fans with lyrics and melodies taken from previous songs. Throughout this track, things like horns, beach sounds, and voices add even more layers onto an already multi-faceted album.

Favorite tracks: The Procession, The Lake and the River, The Church and the Dime, The Bitter Suite 3: Embrace, Smiling Swine, Red Hands, Vital Vessel Vindicates

What this album doesn’t do well

Lyrics. It’s been addressed elsewhere, because it’s fairly obvious that The Dear Hunter doesn’t write the most captivating words you’ll ever hear. But it doesn’t bother me a great deal when you consider that Crescenzo is trying to fit within the parameters of the story he’s writing.

Least favorite tracks: Black Sandy Beaches

Moral of the story

Often a good indicator of how good an album is is one’s tendency to revisit it multiple times for a full listen-through. I can safely say Act II, for me, is like discovering a favorite movie and wanting to recommend it to all of your friends. Deep down you worry that they’ll hate it, but you hold this unwavering happiness about all the little moments throughout the album that make such a big impact.


user ratings (802)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
YoYoMancuso (4.5)
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A modern rock opera tapping into different genres to create a mix of beauty, storytelling, and creat...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ThroneOfAgony
March 21st 2012


3485 Comments


Seriously, don't submit more than 1 review a day. You're doing nothing here but knocking off people's reviews off the front page. Please cut it out.

mikeg1992
March 21st 2012


223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

sorry, I'm new here. didn't know it did that.

ThroneOfAgony
March 21st 2012


3485 Comments


Nah it's fine. Just be considerate of the other users here.

mikeg1992
March 21st 2012


223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Will do. I honestly thought all writing a new review did was add to the collection of other reviews already written about the album. I feel bad because the other review for Act II is great.

iambandersnatch
March 21st 2012


1480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album rules, Casey can do no wrong.

NeutralThunder12
March 21st 2012


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

um bro have u heard casey's lyrics on about 80 percent of the color spectrum, they are pretty great

mikeg1992
March 21st 2012


223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah they are great on The Color Spectrum. But within the main story on this album they can sound a bit forced. As I said, I don't think it takes away from this album at all.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2012


10207 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

"I can safely say Act II, for me, is like discovering a favorite movie and wanting to recommend it to all of your friends."

Try to cut out the parts like "I can safely say" and "for me" - I would change it to "Act II is like discovering a favorite... " . It's much more effective that way when your opinion's more assertive.

"I personally think Crescenzo could hold his own against those American Idol idiots with his tenor to baritone range."

This part feels unnecessary, and your review would definitely benefit from it if you took it out, or at least rephrased it into a more relevant point.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the review. Concise, not more wordy than it need to be (always a problem for me :P ), and your passion for the album really shows without it bleeding into fanboyism. Keep writing, friend :]

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

mikeg1992
March 21st 2012


223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^ thanks man. Obviously I'm new to this and appreciate the advice/support. The American Idol joke does look a lot dumber than it did at 1:00 am when I wrote this.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2012


10207 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

And I would disagree and definitely say the lyrical content takes away from the album, it feels really forced. And the Color Spectrum lyrics are pretty cool, I guess, but I've never honestly been particularly floored with any lyrics that Casey's written. Like,

"You can't be caught red-handed if you're not red-handed"

I get what he was trying to go for there, and I understand that it's supposed to be a tad redundant, but the song would be so much more potent if he didn't revert to that :/

The Color Spectrum lyrics are better in that they're personal and introspective (Blue EP especially), and I definitely prefer that angle of writing on Casey's part

minty901
March 21st 2012


2002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is absurdly good up until evicted. then its pretty crappy. and the crappiness drags on throughout act 3. shame really

mikeg1992
March 21st 2012


223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^ I'll agree that it doesn't hold up against the first half but Blood of the Rose and Red Hands are great tracks. And I've already put my two cents in on Vital Vessel Vindicates, so yeah.

But I wasn't a huge fan of Act III either, surprisingly.

zxlkho
March 21st 2012


3464 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Band rules. Album rules. Casey rules. etc

iambandersnatch
March 21st 2012


1480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I loved Act III, although it is decidedly more poppy than the first two/doesn't have any lengthy songs. I think it was a glimpse of things to come, as Color Spectrum is also this way.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2012


10207 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Tracks 12-14 are all pretty unnecessary.



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