This or the Apocalypse
Dead Years


4.0
excellent

Review

by Durrzo USER (7 Reviews)
September 24th, 2012 | 345 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another winner

This Or The Apocalypse have been doing Metalcore a bit better than most since they released Monuments. The great melodies and leads, the insane drumming, the passionate vocals, all brought together beautifully. Monuments, as much as I enjoy it, had below average production quality and despite it's awesome elements, it got repetitive. In 2010 the band put out Haunt What's Left. The production was outstanding and the songs each had their own identity, and despite lacking some of the technicality of Monuments it seemed to be an improvement for the most part.

When the band released their single 'In Wolves' I was worried. It's a solid track, but they can do better, a hell of a lot better. I'm extremely relieved to be able to tell you that the single is the album's weakest song. The rest of the material meets the standards that many of us now hold this band to.

The album kicks off with 'Hell Praiser' which immediately displays some very aggressive yet melodic guitar leads and a powerful scream from Ricky. The track is chaotic. Ricky, who has always had a fairly unique sound, displays his new range in full right off the bat, switching from mid range rasps to powerful growls to higher screams and back again. His performance on this album is displays more emotion than any of his previous work, and certainly more urgency and desperation. His lyrics are also quite strong. It's easily his best overall performance to date.

When listening to this band you expect good guitar work, and they have delivered once again. When going for a more melodic sound, the leads very from aggressive and in your face, like the opening of 'Hell Praiser' to stunningly beautiful, as they are in songs like 'Hate The Ones You Love' and 'Americans.' Even when going for a more chug and rhythm focused sound these guys deliver a stylized sound that is so much better than what most bands in the genre are putting out.

When I heard that TOTA's drummer, Grant McFarland had left the band, I was horrified. The drumming has always been one of the biggest highlights of this band's material. With that beast of a drummer no longer behind the kit, many fans, myself included, were more than a little worried about what the drumming on the new album would sound like. The end result is... Fine. Grant's playing is not something that can be easily replaced. The producers that wrote the drums for this album did a solid job, and crafted some stand out moments. It'll do.

Sadly, a few wrong moves hold Dead Years back. There were clean vocals on Haunt What's Left, and they worked quite well, Ricky is actually a solid singer. The problem here is that he leaves the singing to others. According to the band, Ricky's performance here is much more demanding than it was previously, and he simply wouldn't have the energy to pull off these clean choruses live. It was a smart move in theory, but the singing provided by the others never fits the band's sound like Ricky's voice did. The other issue is that there's really no need for them to be there. Sometimes clean vocals enhance a chorus or a certain section, but here they just feel tacked on to add some diversity, which they didn't actually need to do. When you have a lead vocalist with this much range and emotion, there's really no need to add anyone else to the mix.

The other problem... Yeah, we're talking about Metalcore, it would have to be breakdowns wouldn't it? They aren't bad, but they certainly aren't great. They don't match the outstanding quality of the rest of the record. Like the cleans, they make brief appearances and do no lasting damage.

The immense amount of things this album does right pound it's few mistakes into the ground, when you finish your listen it shouldn't be the little flaws that stick in your head. They're fairly easy to forgive.

On top of everything else, this album really has it's own identity, as I believe all records should. Many bands fall into a sound and never really move away from it. This is clearly a ToTA record, but it manages to sound nothing like either Monuments or Haunt What's Left.

This is not one to be missed.



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user ratings (255)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Mark A. (3.5)
It certainly won’t change your mind about metalcore, but it is a fine listen and a certain step in...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Durrzo
September 24th 2012


1456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The album came out in Europe today so... yeah. Review tips are welcome, let me know if you see any typos and so on. ALBUM IS SO DAMN AWESOME.

Tijnmans
September 24th 2012


381 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, no!

Durrzo
September 24th 2012


1456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Lol neg the second it went up. Nice trolling I guess?

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
September 24th 2012


15719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is there a stream?

TooLateToGoBack
September 24th 2012


1952 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so excited for this.



Americans is such an awesome song.

Durrzo
September 24th 2012


1456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

No stream yet, band posted on their FB that LifeForce Records put it out in Europe today. I don't actually need a stream to be up to review it if it's out somewhere, do I?

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
September 24th 2012


15719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I heard if you review it way before it comes out you do or it gets taken down but this comes out tomorrow so you're good. And I probably heard wrong anyway.

Tijnmans
September 24th 2012


381 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I got to be honest. I hated this and I absolutly loved Monuments and the Pentagon 3. split demo's. Haunt what's left was also pretty good but this is terrible. They went from a weird dreamy underground almost atmosperic metalcore sound to a Generic boring djenty metalcore mess. Seriously put Monuments on right now and tell me that's not a better album!

sspedding
September 24th 2012


5166 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I absolutely love this. Americans is my favourite song of the year. Good review. Pos.

Digging: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

DurzoBlint
September 24th 2012


1307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dam I thought someone hacked me and wrote this review!

Durrzo
September 24th 2012


1456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Tijnmans I couldn't possibly disagree with you more. Monuments is great but I much prefer this.



DurzoBlint
September 24th 2012


1307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty fun album, but the drumming is boring. Definitely suffered from the loss of the previous

drummer. Really different sound from what I heard them like on monuments though.

Davidsw
September 24th 2012


7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Excellent review, pos'd.

I agree on most of the points you make, but I think the lyrics were much better on Haunt What's Left and Monuments.

J0ckstrapsFTW
September 24th 2012


3685 Comments


Im pretty excited to listen to this

Durrzo
September 24th 2012


1456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The lyrics may have been better previously, but I don't let that hurt the listening experience for me. As long as they're not bad and the vocals are awesome I'm happy.



I quite enjoy the drumming, other Durzo. Grant's work on Monuments was obviously insane and this isn't up to that standard, but I think this is pretty enjoyable work.

DurzoBlint
September 24th 2012


1307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really finding the breakdowns bringing it down too (first 3 tracks mostly)... disappointing as there

are some great moments on here. If they cut the pointless breakdowns out, I would enjoy this far more.

The heavier tracks do not

interest me at all. Guitarwork on the melodic sections is great though

Nikkolae
September 24th 2012


5167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i actually think this is pretty much on par with Haunt Whats Left, with HWL slightly above this but i really like both albums, Grant is sorely missed though.

Hawks
September 24th 2012


49983 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is decent.

Digging: Cynic - The Portal Tapes

xandermander
September 24th 2012


626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I really enjoy this album, Rick is obviously incredibly passionate about what he's doing. Every negative you mentioned is pretty much spot on. The drumming and the cleans bring this down a bit but the rest of the vocal performance more than makes up for it.

silentstar
September 24th 2012


2496 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If the guy who sang on You Own No One sang all the cleans, this album would have been a vocal juggernaut.



On another note, the album's sounding great so far. Americans is definitely the standout



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