The Color Morale
Know Hope


2.9
good

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
April 3rd, 2013 | 79 replies | 19,966 views


Release Date: 03/26/2013 | Tracklist


For those following the most successful groups in metalcore lately, The Color Morale’s name is likely to have come up at some point. The band’s fanbase has grown in scope as steadily as the metalcore movement as whole, while groups like August Burns Red and As I Lay Dying proved to the average music fan that no, not every group with a harsh vocalist is a Satanist cult. As the paradigm has shifted, metalcore has gained momentum, allowing groups like The Color Morale to gain a large amount of fans. As the scene’s grown, though, so has the monotony, leading many to believe a modern metalcore group simply can’t be successful without adhering to the tired clichés of breakdowns, or “chugs,” etc. The Color Morale has worked with this formula for awhile, but the group’s 2013 release Know Hope sees a metalcore group aiming for innovation, and adopting a few unique characteristics to the scene overall.

For starters, there’s certainly something to be said for the stylistic shifts at hand-- vocalist Garret Rapp now works with a more hardcore-influenced shout, instead of the gutturals and screams expected of the group. The change isn’t anything drastic, but will at least catch the old-school fans off-guard. Instrumentally, the album even takes steps towards other musical directions, most of which work well for the group. “Silver Lining” is a hardcore bombshell reminiscent of Every Time I Die, a stellar track showcasing Rapp in his newfound vocal terrain. And elsewhere, “Learned Behavior” shows off the melodic edge The Color Morale has always had over its peers. The reason the song works so well as an opening single is that it exemplifies the level of comfort the metalcore group is striving to meet: the track is immediate, and thoughtful in how it so very narrowly sidesteps the pitfalls common in the metalcore genre. Sure, there’s nothing particularly innovative in the track, but it knows how to utilize Rapp’s variety of vocals to its advantage. Moments like these are when The Color Morale really impresses, and convinces us that maybe the rest of the album is as robust.

It’s a damned shame, then, that the rest of Know Hope doesn’t particularly follow suit. Blame it on a mixed agenda-- one minute, the band is flirting with metalcore in the innovative way Underoath did with Define The Great Line, only to follow suit with a disposable breakdown. And from the gimmicky usage of electronics to the bafflingly arranged vocal parts (seriously, what is Rapp thinking in the heavier part of “Steadfast”?,) Know Hope bolsters wildly schizophrenic production. It implies the group wants to be yet another metalcore imitator, even if it’s apparent the group is aiming higher. In order to achieve more noteworthy growth, it seems The Color Morale may need to go with some new studio tricks.

The lyrics are also a major flaw here, much too try-hard in nature. From one vague life statement to the next, Garret Rapp says little via witticism, penning lyrics that are poetic but ultimately meaningless. From the main refrain in “Learned Behavior” (Sometimes it's good to build up walls / not to keep anyone out / but to see who cares enough to knock them down) and its overdramatic flair to “Steadfast”’s mind-boggling lyric (“You can never leave an island in your mind / until you lose sight of the shoreline / You can try and fail / but don't fail to try,) many of the album’s lyrics exude pure carelessness. Considering the moments that work here, it makes one sad to realize what the album could have been, and how much meaningful lyrics could have strengthened the group’s sound.

There are certainly some ways in which Know Hope is the most innovative release from The Color Morale yet. At the end of the day, the album exists as a mish-mashing of vehement hardcore with more predictable metalcore, and is overall at least a change to the formula. There’s something to be said for adhering to what a band does best, though, and in The Color Morale’s case, the band has always been best at improving upon what other groups have crafted. This idea isn’t inherently problematic-- there’s nothing wrong with taking influence from others and fine-tuning it. Hell, The Color Morale’s debut album We All Have Demons didn’t do anything particularly unexpected, but possessed a strong sense of allure because its music was full of life, no matter how derivative the sum of its whole. Things have changed, though-- Know Hope is actually at its weakest when it works in a continuation of style. It seems The Color Morale is no longer content with simply being another metalcore group signed to Rise Records. The group wants to be more than its peers, and that much is clear from the pockets of innovation found within Know Hope. And while the album’s too inconsistent in style to be considered a successful change of pace for the group, it’s at least a promising sign of things to come.



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user ratings (208)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
P.J. Quinones (4)
A cause for celebration among the Rise repertoire....

multicore (3.5)
A pleasant surprise...

welljesuschrist (3)
Rapps vocal performance saves them from mediocrity. Just....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2013



10010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

"Learned Behavior" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hm4tIPtRco

"Silver Lining" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frMl1zRhCOk

"Smoke and Mirrors" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PfZwbLRv9A

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Gyromania
April 3rd 2013



15200 Comments


silver linings playbook!

good review. i would probably hate this

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2013



10010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Yeah, man, this album is SO not Matt French material. Stay far away, and watch Silver Linings Playbook for a second time instead.

Gyromania
April 3rd 2013



15200 Comments


yeah i just checked out two of the tracks and they were pretty bad imo

i should watch it again, i loved everything about that movie!

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2013



10010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Definitely, man, the best movie I've seen in awhile. I haven't ever seen Bradley Cooper do as well, and Jennifer Lawrence was Jennifer Lawrence. [/avatar]

Gyromania
April 3rd 2013



15200 Comments


i was actually really reluctant to watch it because bradley cooper is w/e. was pleasantly surprised

Gyromania
April 3rd 2013



15200 Comments


that and perks of being a wallflower were the two best movies i've seen recently

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2013



10010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Damn, a 1 after hearing two tracks? French troll ratin' up in here!

I love how they portrayed mental illness, and how it affects relationships. It's pretty spot-on from my experiences

Gyromania
April 3rd 2013



15200 Comments


it really is! there was a lot more subtext in the film than i was expecting. i mean the ending was completely predictable but that's usually the way in romantic comedies

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2013



10010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Yeah, it'd be silly to expect a surprising ending for a movie like that. But I love that they took the approach of "better get with someone who actually understands firsthand what you're going through," because it's so true.

pepster50
April 3rd 2013



327 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I wouldn't consider "Learned Behavior" as one of the innovative songs on here. If anything its one of the most generic. Containing screams verse to catchy chorus x 3 structure. Your correct with silver linings, and I would say "Steadfast" and "Never Enders" stretch the boundaries of the usual rise records metalcore style. You also got "Saviorself" which acts as a sort-of ballad. I think its clear that by far the worst song on the cd is "Burn Victims".

Calc
April 3rd 2013



12014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bradley Cooper as at his best in Midnight Meat Train.

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2013



10010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Yeah pepster, I do get what you're saying. I guess I meant that the song is innovative, in that it actually utilizes the vocals in a really fitting way. It feels really forced for a lot of this

witchxrapist
April 3rd 2013



10934 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

How old are you? I'm just curious cause like, the Christcore thing happened a while ago before AILD and ABR and metalcore's definitely nowhere near as popular as it was like 10 years ago...

Digging: Stray From the Path - Our Oceania

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2013



10010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

I'm 20, witch. I honestly haven't ever seen metal as widely accepted as it is now-- I see kids at school wearing metal t-shirts more often than I'd ever imagined. And idk, man, I feel like it's more popular than ever. If you see Rise Records and Sumerian, and all the crazy-popular metalcore groups they promote, it definitely seems more lasting than ever.

Plus, I think the Internet has really spread metal a ton. Granted, it's the case with all genres, but metal was once more of a closet genre, and more and more everyday people are listening to it now

witchxrapist
April 3rd 2013



10934 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't know man, it seems like aside from a few niche regions metalcore is deeeeeaaaad.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2013



10010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Maybe in terms of innovation, but I've never seen as many metalcore groups as have emerged in the last couple years.

joshieboy12345
April 3rd 2013



5370 Comments


I just can't really get into this. It's just average metalcore imo.

Digging: Rise Against - The Black Market

Azn.
April 3rd 2013



5569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah this pales in comparison to their older material

Digging: Trophy Scars - Never Born, Never Dead

TooLateToGoBack
April 4th 2013



1753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Learned Behavior is a really, really fun listen. Album stumbles a bit in the middle, but the closing track is pretty great, too.



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