Review Summary: An outstanding first release from a band with a lot of potential.
It's not easy to find bands that show the potential to be great in this genre. Many Metalcore acts seem to be content with churning out records that are by every definition of the word, generic. There are only a couple of bands that come to mind when I want to listen to something that's actually standout and impressive, and one of those bands is Feed Her To The Sharks.
Let me start by saying that this album does not break down any barriers, it does not do anything new, and it isn't anywhere near perfect. The reason I like this album so much is the fact that the members of this band all show potential, and lots of it. They follow fairly typical Metalcore song structures, but for the most part they do it right.
The highlight of this band is and probably always will be, their primary vocalist. He's a monster, I can't say it any better than that. He has some of the best quality screams and growls that I've ever heard. His range is good and he utilizes both of his styles of choice very well throughout the course of the album. His highs are a thing of beauty. From time to time I hear a vocalist lose his power when he goes from lows to highs, the shrieks sound airy, or just lacking. This isn't a problem here, the highs hit you just as hard as the growls do, and that's really saying something because these growls are ear-nukes. His pronunciation is almost perfect in both ranges, which is something to be admired. All of the lyrics, which are actually quite good, if not a little too dark and depressing, can be easily understood, and by the second listen you should be able to know exactly what he's saying on each song.
I wish I could give just as much praise to their clean vocalist, I really do. But I can't, because he's awful. This is the reason I had to say they do things right FOR THE MOST PART. I don't have a thing against clean vocalists in Metalcore bands, in fact I like them a lot if they do things right. The problem here is that this guy is the epitome of a low quality generic Metalcore singer. Every time you've heard someone mock Metalcore cleans for being too whiny and weak and out of place, they might has well have been talking about this guy. I could forgive some of of his lack of power if he was actually good at singing, but he isn't. His pitch is awful, the way he pronounces each word makes me cringe, it's just flat out unpleasant to listen to. With a lead vocalist like the one they have, nobody should be trying to sing in that high of a pitch anyway. They should be using a lower more aggressive type of singing to match the power of the screams, instead of whining like a little girl and making the two sounds clash horribly. Get better or shut up, please.
Breakdowns... they can be fun, they can be well placed and well done. They can also be placed randomly, be terrible, and give a genre a bad name. I'm happy to report that the breakdowns on this album are well placed and well done. They aren't amazing or anything, but they're fun to listen to, and they don't just randomly show up. There's lots of good build ups to the breakdowns and when they hit they pack a punch. Speaking of build ups, there are several great moments on this album where the credit has to be given to a good build up. "Dead By Dawn" has one my favorites; a snare roll paired with a shrieked "three seconds to live... two seconds to live... one second to live..." followed by the whole band jumping back in and a REALLY low "NOTHING CAN SAVE ME NOOOOOW." It's fun stuff, and it sounds great. The production is outstanding, which is actually surprising to me. I don't thing many people are aware of this band (yet) and I typically expect lower production quality from a first release. This is not the case! Everything sound great. Nothing, except the bass of course (who even knows what bass sounds like any more) gets lost in the mix. It's all very clear and very high quality.
The guitarists are both good players. Thankfully this album isn't overloaded with chugga-chugga guitar-work, each song has it's own melody and they sound pretty damn good. And when they ease back on the melody and just go for that heavy sound it's actually timed and placed nicely to give the power that the section needs. "Misery" features a short but very solid guitar solo. The lead guitarist shows that he has the potential to write good leads and melodies, and I hope to see him keep improving in that area in the future, because the playing here is good, but not quite great. More solos on future releases would be very much appreciated.
The drumming here is good, if not a little too cautious. He keeps the beat very well, everything he does syncs perfectly with the guitarists. I really like some of his double-bass placement, he doesn't go overboard with it and sometimes uses it when that's exactly what a section needs to be great. This all all fine and dandy... But where's that creativity, man?! I can't think of one single moment where I thought "whoa, that was a nice fill." His beats work fine and get the job done, but he never really tries anything interesting with them. His toms are extremely underutilized. I hope in the future he tries a little more creative playing. His playing is good so I'm sure he has the potential to pull it off.
All in all, this album is great. For a first release, it's ***ing outstanding. There's a ton of potential here and if these guys really put in an effort to stay away from the pitfalls of the genre and continue to work on what they've already shown they're good at, they could really be something amazing in the future. Any fan of the genre should give this one a spin, it may not be as outstanding albums from the leaders of the genre, but it's pretty high up there. Keep improving guys, I have faith in you! But seriously, shut that singer up next time.