Review Summary: A noble effort at a debut record; far from disappointing, but miles away from perfect
Most bands would tell you the hardships of trying to get noticed by record labels. It normally takes years of touring the toilet circuit, playing to crowds of 50 and selling backstreet merchandise just to try and advertise themselves. Crown The Empire however, took a pretty lucky shortcut on the road to being signed. Rise Records approached them on the simple basis of 2 self-released EPs and a self-shot music video floating around YouTube, and after being signed started work immediately on their debut record.
Unlike most three-worded bands on Rise's roster, we can start by commending Crown The Empire on the creativity they've injected into The Fallout. Even under metalcores tarnished cloak, CTE hold a distinctive, dramatic sound that stops them just being 'another one of those bands'. Sure, a concept 'end-of-the-world' album doesn't sound like debut material for a band as young as this, but for the most part, it's a pretty solid structure. However, this is an album with two halves. The first half of the album is a collection of catchy, well-written songs that almost escape the cliches of modern day metalcore (although fans of breakdowns won't be disappointed). The latter half harbors filler, and this really drags the album down.
The cleans on this record sound natural, powerful and genuinely make certain songs stick in your head for hours on end. The harsh vocals aren't as unique, but they are by no means terrible/laughable. Title track, The Fallout, is a well written song that showcases both these vocal styles. The band do a good job at keeping the balance right between clean and harsh vocals, stopping the songs becoming too stale too quickly. Memories of a Broken Heart, The One You Feed and Graveyard Soul are songs that help continue to define this album.
Lead single Makeshift Chemistry is by no means a bad song; in fact, it's one of the best on the album in general terms. It doesn't feel like it belongs on The Fallout however, as it's just a 'song about a girl'. Maybe I'm taking the concept idea a bit too far with this, but it feels like a song that was written before the rest of the album was. The same can be said for Twos Too Much. The album would be a far better experience if a little more consistency was in place. The latter half of the album tries to replace songwriting with heaviness, which is all well and good but this starts to let the unique sound of the album slip.
While The Fallout definitely doesn't astound, it certainly impresses- especially as a debut. While this record starts to unravel at the seams towards the end, the songs are well written and the band have tried hard to keep themselves away from the tarred brush.