Review Summary: A departure, yes, but not as radical as people as the fans are claiming it to be. Not as enjoyable as the bands previous releases, but still an enjoyable album nonetheless.
Your Demise received quite a bit of controversy when they released 'These Lights', a single which was a major departure from the bands previous releases (I'll get into my thoughts on that song later). It's only natural I guess, when bands release an album which departs from their established sound, they usually get a lot of backlash from fans, and the fanbase is split down the middle. The Golden Age is that album, although it's not so much of a radical departure since there is some songs on here which stands well against their back catalogue.
However, is it as bad as the fans are saying it is? Well, I personally don't think it's anywhere near that bad. In fact, I rather enjoyed listening to The Golden Age. The only major gripe that I have with this album is that it is a little bit inconsistent, with the band going from heavy to melodic between songs. A great example of this is the very start of the album. 'The Golden Age', the albums title track, is an aggressive, brutal song which wouldn't sound out of place on 'The Kids We Used To Be', the bands previous release, that song is followed by the infamous These Lights, which is the song on the album which is the biggest departure from the bands sound with a more melodic, almost Pop Punk feel to it, then they move back into the heavy with 'Born A Snake', which feels a bit out of place after the melodic 'These Lights'.
Speaking of 'These Lights', I don't think it's as bad as the fans made it out to be upon release. Yes, it's a lot different to the bands previous works, but that doesn't make it a bad song by any means. I'd describe it as Pop Punk with a harder edge. The screaming is still there, in the second verse, but I think the song would have worked better if both the verses were screamed as opposed to just the one. The chorus is really melodic and catchy, and will be stuck in your head for days.
Another point worth mentioning is the guest vocals featured on this album. There are four songs which feature guest vocalists from other bands. I thought all of these worked well, aside from on Paper Trails, where Dannika Webber of Evarose lends her vocals to the bridge. It's not really that poorly executed, but I think her voice sounds a little out of place in this song, but that's just my opinion.
The other three guests (David Wood of Down to Nothing Terror, Jason Aalon Butler of Letlive, and Josh Francesci of You Me At Six), however, lend their vocals well. In particular, I thought that David Wood's shouts on 'Forget About Me' were really well executed. Josh Francesci's presence on 'A Decade Drifting' was also pretty cool.
Another minor gripe I have is that a couple of the songs are a little too generic for my liking. 'Push Me Under' and The Colour of Envy' are by no means bad songs, but I find them a bit generic, the kind of thing that that any hardcore band could come up with. If these songs were written by other hardcore bands such as 'Comeback Kid', 'Sick Of It All', or 'The Hope Conspiracy', I would find them just as disappointing.
However, there are some really good songs on this album. The albums title track kicks off the album to a great start. Forget About Me, a kind of Post Hardcore tinged song, is a brilliant song and has a good blend of heavy and melodic elements. 'I'm (Not) The One' has a cool intro with some feedback over the top, and follows on from there, featuring an awesome breakdown with some brutal screams. Never A Dull Moment, a song with a slight New Found Glory feel to it (albeit with a slightly harder edge) is another fun belter of a track that, while more melodic then the band's previous work, is still a great song, and Worthless, the albums closing track, is an excellent song which blends elements of the bands older Hardcore sound with elements of Pop Punk, creating an awesome mix of heavy and melody, and it closes the album on a good note.
Overall, I think this album is enjoyable. It's split the fanbase down the middle, yes, and it's a little more melodic, but I think that was the bands intention: to have the heavier songs to keep the old fans, while having the more accessible songs to draw in the new fans. It's not their best release, but it's a lot better then the fans are claiming it to be. If you like Hardcore, there are some songs you'll enjoy, but you won't enjoy the more melodic songs so much, and if you like Pop Punk, you'll probably enjoy the more melodic songs, but won't really like the heavier songs. However, if you want some middle ground, this is the album for you.