Review Summary: A band that has been gone for four years and needed to come out of the gate sprinting instead releases the most tepid album of their discography.
Evergreen Terrace is a band without pretensions. If you’ve heard one track by them then you know exactly what you’re in for: fun, punchy metalcore with deep pop-punk roots. Members have come and gone, yet the template remains largely the same. In fall of 2012, founding guitarist Josh James left the band to join Stick To Your Guns full time. When this was first announced, it had been three years since the previous Evergreen Terrace album, Almost Home
, and since no news had been brought up about entering the studio, many believed the band to be nearing a break-up. This turned out not to be the case, as current bassist Alex Varian moved over to guitar and Jason Southwell, a founding member who left in 2009, was recruited back to the band. They entered the studio not long after and recorded their first album in four years, Dead Horses
. Unfortunately the wait was not worth it, as the Evergreen Terrace formula has run its course.
is not an album lacking in energy, just ideas. The band has brought back the sound that they are known for, largely unchanged. Honestly, the album feels like a phone-in that you would get from a band trying to get out of a recording contract, but the sad thing is that this is a band hungry and newly signed to Rise. ET spends the entire 35 minute runtime treading the same water they’ve always tread, except with less interesting choruses than ever and somehow a bigger reliance on monotonous chugging and poopy moments than ever. Not to say there aren’t moments of fun and excitement, they just come less frequently than needed. “When You’re Born In The Gutter, You End Up In The Port” is fast paced and exciting, and “The Fortunate Ones” is a great track, with fun, almost desperate sounding verses and an interesting (believe it or not) breakdown to end the song. The best track here though is the closing track, “That Dog’ll Hunt”, which almost feels like a career retrospective in terms of the build of the track, bringing back memories of “Tonight is The Night We Ride” and “The Damned” off previous albums.
The bad outweighs the good here, unfortunately. “Lacuna, Inc” sounds like a rejected track that A Day To Remember wrote, “Dead Horses” is an almost exact retread of “Chaney Can’t Quite Riff…” off of Wolfbiker
, as if the quality of the former would be dependent purely on your nostalgia involving the latter, and Browbeaters Anonymous, maybe the worst offender, has incredibly generic verses seemingly lifted off a The Ghost Inside album combined with the most awkward vocal performance clean vocalist Craig Chaney has put on record to date. The problems that plague the aforementioned songs pop up in almost every other track. It seems like the band looked at other bands that got huge, and they simplified everything that worked for them and tried to duct tape it to the successful sounds of similar bands.
Evergreen Terrace should sound hungry. They should sound exciting. Too bad they just sound bored. Maybe it is because I’m not in high school anymore, where most of my fondest Evergreen Terrace memories come from, but these guys always sounded unique enough in a horrifically crowded genre. They used to have a sort of charisma and fun to their sound, as if they were just guys having fun and not really trying. They definitely sound like they’re trying now, trying to sound relevant, and as a result everything sounds simultaneously forced and half-assed.