Review Summary: The skies were overcast, shadows fall as the Sorrow engage the kill switch on the bullet for trivum. As August burns red, the children of Bodom weep.
Metalcore is an odd animal to dissect. There are limited variations in the species and in a field that is defined by a few distinct personalities it becomes hard to separate from the pack. So can one fault a band when their latest release consists of what sounds like every other band in the spectrum thrown into a blender?
The Sorrow have released their fourth full length offering Misery Escape (are all Austrian metal bands this melancholy?). After two early releases that we met with decent critical reviews from the community at large, the slow descent into mediocrity continues on this effort. There has been no evolution from their early works. Not to say that all bands need to change, when you have a distinct sound that works, it is great to experiment while staying close to your roots. However, when a bands distinguishing sound can easily be replicated by 10 other bands it looses impact rather quickly. As a comparison, I put all 4 of their releases on shuffle and the result came across as if I were listening to one extremely long album from the same band. Musically, if you are a fan of End of Heartache era Killswitch Engage you are going to eat this up with a spoon.
Almost everything here is eerily similar to releases from other bands. The aforementioned KSE, Shadows Fall, Bullet for my Valentine, (later) Children of Bodom I think you get the idea behind what this release sounds like. Sonically there is nothing wrong here, the guitars sound crisp and have plenty of crunch behind them. The rhythm section is solid and skilled at what they do. The bass work is one of the more stand out features on this release, sounding like they took a queue from Overkill in their mixing. The vocals are sheer metalcore 101. Varying between raspy, screaming and clean singing in equal mixes, they even manage to throw in some vague group singing/chanting at some points. The production is solid, the release does not sound horribly over produced, the drums and bass could have used more mid and lower end depth. It follows a disconcerting trend where bands tone down the levels so that the “breakdown” bass drops sounds heavier.
Misery Escape is worthy of a few listens and you may find a standout track that you enjoy, however this is strictly paint by the numbers. In the end were left with what amounts to a bowl of heavy metal vanilla ice cream.
I'm sure fans of the band will like it. If I were to compare it to anything... it's like the last 2 Lamb of God releases. Wrath and Resolution. They were okay, just really no growth between the 2 records.
This album is a fuckin' monster. There is honestly no song on here I don't like. Maybe the best metalcore release of the year.
To say this sounds like any other metalcore release is ridiculous and this album really is a great evolution from their others. I believe that I could easily pick out these tracks from the tracks from the other albums if I shuffled; however, with that being said, pos'd.
I'm a big fan of this band and like what I've heard from the first couple of listens.
That being written, I fully acknowledge they aren't exactly the most diverse metal act out there -- that goes hand in hand with being a metalcore outfit. It is what it is.
I just happen to like listening to the better metalcore bands out there, even if they are formulaic and repetitive, and The Sorrow's overall sound and approach is just a cut above most of their counterparts from my perspective. I actually don't find the harshes and riffing vanilla at all -- real tight, edgy, and aggressive -- and the cleans don't cheese me out.
One new element they've sprinkled into a few of the songs, similar to recent releases by other "corers," is lead guitar soloing. Adds some liquidity to otherwise bone dry rhythm output.
I fully understand and accept most sputnikers hate metalcore, so this will fall on deaf ears and/or invite ridicule -- so be it. My feelings aren't hurt.