Review Summary: The Plot In You squanders any potential they previously had, releasing a breakdown fest full of unnecessary anger and childish or disturbing lyrics.
Back in 2011, Landon Tewers, former guitarist and vocalist of Before Their Eyes, released a debut through Rise Records entitled "First Born" under the name The Plot In You. Although bringing nothing new musically to the already crowded metalcore table, this album brought a fresh passion and honesty for the subject matter, domestic abuse, that matched well with the fury exhibited throughout the tracks. "First Born" was a concept album, focusing on the view of a broken home through the eyes of a child growing up under such circumstances. I thoroughly enjoyed the album, due to the honesty exhibited. So, naturally I was excited for TPIY's sophomore effort "Could You Watch Your Children Burn." Unfortunately, upon listening to the tracks on this album, it seems all potential I felt they had has now been squandered on aimless fury and excessive breakdowns.
The disc opens up with "Premeditated" and "Fiction Religion", two previously released singles, which I had heard and found lacking. Where "Fiction Religion" has redeeming qualities, particularly in the second half, "Premeditated" exhibits what The Plot In You has become: lots and lots of breakdowns, spoken sections by Tewers (yeah, like... Frankie Palmeri), and basically lyrics about how he's gonna kill someone. Reading into the meaning behind this song, his anger is indeed justified, as it is about Tewers' girlfriend being raped while he was away on tour. However, in his attempts to be "raw", he just ends up being childlike and just plain disturbing ("Was it everything you hoped and dreamed? Her legs pinned down and face shoved deep into your seat... My heart racing faster than his car. Did I stab him enough?").
Unfortunately, with few exceptions, that basically sums up "Could You Watch Your Children Burn": a smorgasbord of excessive breakdowns, anger unhealthily channeled into bloody fantasies, all served with a generous helping of "f**k." The sound TPIY utilizes this time can be compared to The Crimson Armada's most recent album, "Conviction", seen most prevalently in the song "Population Control", where Tewers chews out a promiscuous man for "sticking [his] d**k into anything that moves." While I find this subject matter relevant, the way he portrays it lyrically is pathetic, and it is worsened by his exclamations of "b**ch!" and "Ha! Ha!", bringing to mind nu-metal influence, seen in Saud Ahmed's raps or Frankie Palmeri's "badass" mentality.
The Plot In You continues chugging along in their album, spewing out anger and dissonant riffs, which honestly seem to have no structure, just a means by which Tewers can spit out his lyrics. It hits rock-bottom lyrically and musically in the song "Shyann Weeps," which serves as both the most graphic and the most profane. Uninspired breakdowns run rampant, until they morph into boring chugging, all the while the most unnecessary lyrics ever: "Her face was so mangled, it didn't even look human anymore. I stood and watched her drown in her own blood," which he ironically has moral reason for, as later he tells the girl "I will not let you spread your disease to the rest of the world." Thanks, Landon. You're a real pal. I have a sort of record in my mind of the song to utilize the most f-bombs in a single phrase, a position formerly held by King Conquer's "6 Gallon Gasoline Stomach" (3 f-bombs). Now, "Shyann Weeps" holds that record with 5 with this phrase: "F**k you, f**k your family, f**k any of your friends, and f**k your dumb tattoo. F**k you."
Where "First Born" showed love and forgiveness in contrast to the broken situation ("Hold on tightly, brother. I'm doing everything that I can do to keep you here with me, to keep your heart beating" on "Miscarriage"; "All I wanted was to have my family back, to see my mother's smile, to hear my father say he loves me one more time" on "Neighbors"; and "Every single chance I get, I say a prayer for you and your safety" on "Nothing Leaves This Room."), Tewers utilizes anger in horrendous lyrical cuts, including "F**k, f**k them all. You worthless slime. F**k you all" ("Digging Your Grave"); "This time I'll wait here, I'll set it off. Slit your f**king throat, watch you bleed and then we'll burn you down" ("Population Control"); and "I'd peel the flesh from your f**king bones. I hope you don't forget that" ("Troll"). Tewers also criticizes religion on a few occasions: "My hope and my faith let me down" ("Fiction Religion") and "F**k your beliefs. Take them back where you found them" ("Bible Butcher"). I don't think Tewers realizes that anger can be conveyed by uses other than the f-bomb (much like a middle schooler who just realized that it is a word he is capable of using), which is a shame, since I believed his lyrics showed depth and maturity on "First Born," still utilizing it, but not in excessive amounts.
While this album is pretty much awful, there are a few exceptions to its overall horror. To his credit, Landon has improved his vocal abilities. His highs are much clearer, his lows are gruffer, and he usually offers a mid-range shout/roar that actually sound pretty good, unless he's talking. Otherwise, tracks "Sober and Soulless" and "Glad You're Gone" exhibit strong melody and fewer harsh vocals, as well as a better lyrical take. The former states: "There are things I will never understand. There are times I almost leave, pretend that life was all a dream." The latter seems to be a final farewell to perhaps his father, criticizing his destructive behavior, but ultimately thanking him for giving him life: "So when you're lying in your bed and thoughts of me race through your head, just know that I'm alive and I'll survive. I'm alive because you gave me life." As previously mentioned, "Fiction Religion" unoriginally criticizes religion, but the latter half of the song takes a melodic approach, as Tewers mentions "Could you watch your children burn? You think you could?... I won't live a lie to give new meaning to my life," so his anger is somewhat justified and at least honest.
But these few examples don't save the disc, as the negatives outweigh the positives by far. In the end, we're left with a musically mediocre, lyrically immature, and conceptually unfocused album. If The Plot In You still has potential to make a good album, it's not found on this album. For positives, check out the songs "Sober and Soulless" and "Glad You're Gone," but this disc is definitely not going to satisfy. Unless you're into breakdowns, bloody fantasies, and f-bombs.