Review Summary: Not as powerful as with Shane, but still powerful in their own right.
Frankly, like any other Close Your Eyes fan, I was extremely saddened by Shane's departure from the band. His vocals were what gathered most of the band's noise together and made it powerful. This band has been one of my favorites for a while now. Their songs were so strong and actually made me have hope in the world. However, they regained my hope with the new vocalist. Sam Ryder, fills Shane's spot with respect and can stand on his own. Sonny fills in where Sam falls short, and together they're quite dangerous. Here's my review for Line In The Sand, song by song.
1. Deus Ex Machina: Begins with an intro misleading the listener there's one big breakdown and that's all the album is. The lyrics almost seems like letter to Shane, explaining how the band misses him and how they used to be a force to be reckoned with. Ryder's vocals are first heard here, and are eerily similar to Shane's old vocals.
2. Burdened By Hope: The beginning crushes the listener, almost dropping them to the ground like a hard punch to the gut. The lyrics attack an unknown person, telling a story of how they were so gullible to his lies, but now they realize the lies. Around 2 minutes in is my favorite part of the song, if not the whole album, with high pitch guitars calling for a mosh in the listener's ears.
3. Days Of Youth: The energy is carried on from Burdened By Hope, and brings back the pop-punk sound that shocked me before. How could a band go from brutal to nostalgic in the span of one song? It sounds like a revamped YOLO song, but I like it. The lyrics portray growing up and how the span of childhood is short, and needs to be lived to it's full.
4. Line In The Sand: Back to brutal again. The song could be a finale to Burdened By Hope for all I know. Ryder and Vega attack hypocrites which could be analogized with charismatic pastors (the band is Christian after all). Soon the tempo slows down, and Ryder screams on how he can believe what he wants and how there's a barrier which separates him and the person being attacked. Like how one verse explains, this song could be potentially polarizing to old and new fans.
5. Frame and Glass: Ryder calms down and goes back to a pop-punk sound. This is roughly, the anthem of this album. Full of nostalgia, the listener is taken on a trip through the memories. The lyrics call for whatever extra-national power there be to return him to his ephemeral childhood.
6. Sleeping Giant: There seems to be a pattern appearing. One song being softer, the next being brutal. This song also sounds like an anthem, and could be rightly in it's place in a revolution or fight, whichever fits the listeners better. Lyrics explain how a sleeping giant has been awakened, and isn't happy.
7. Kings of John Payne: Okay, there's a pattern for sure. The song sounds like a return to Friends Are Forever or Chad Stedman from the band's first album, We Will Overcome. Lyrics are again, nostalgic. This song could fit in a bar full of drunken friends or a car full of teenagers. "Praising friends, how could this song get any more generic?" is probably what you're thinking. I can answer, it's generic but you wouldn't know without looking too much into the details.
8. No Borders!: This song sounds like a call for all the disenfranchised fans to come back and unite. I really don't know how to explain this song, but it sounds like the faster pitched second album, Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts. A hard rock sound makes it's cameo, with softer "Borders just make" and Ryder screams "Boundaries" . This song is extremely globalist and basically calls on it's inspiration from the "Divide and Conquer" idea.
9. The End: The second (or maybe the first, I can't really remember) single to come off the album. This song breaks the pattern, with punk-like No Borders! combining into this song to embody a revolution. Actually calling for a revolution (spiritual or political is subjective), the song is one of my favorites on the album. Drums pound away as guitars lead into uptempo anthem (what a shocker!).
10. Higher Than My Station: From what the listener can gather, it seems like the band hasn't changed their sound at all. Almost sounding like Altars' Eternity, the song pounds away at the more radical elements of religion, or at least that's what I gather from the song.
11. Skeletons: Pretty freakin brutal. The second shortest song could've been lengthened into a legitimate single, but it sounds like a Parkway Drive
12. Trends and Phases: This song sounds like 30 Seconds To Mars, but it fits the band. Softer than some other songs, it's pretty catchy as the inspirational lyrics heard from previous albums returns. Ryder easily fills in the darkness left by Shane.
13. Glory: Could possibly be a hymn taken from the books converted into the band's sound, but that's basically what the song is. Sorry I can't explain it any better.
14. My Way Home: Background vocals are harmonizing which only adds to what seems like 30 Seconds To Mars ripoff, but the band quickly does a 180 degree turn and fixes the song to tell a story of a man being separated from what he loves.
15. Follow The Son: Last song, and it's the shortest. Excellent exit and leaves the listener feeling fulfilled.
Many worried what would happen to the band after Shane. Would they break up? Would their sound change? Would they be weaker? All of those questions are answered with a no, with what seems like a sandwich with what was in the last two albums. All in all, the album is one I recommend, even if you doubt Ryder's ability to fill in for Shane.