Review Summary: It's like baking: you mix in too much ingredients, you ruin the final product.
Nine Lashes. Another band that tries to make its way to the top by compiling different bands into one sound that in turn is produced to a sound we’ve seen before. If anything, their most recent release, From Water to War
is a perfect example of this. Considering the fact that this is their second international release, you’d think they might learn from their mistakes in the past. And while World We View
was a decent record, there were too many flaws with its production and it turned out to be nothing special; just another rock band doing what they do. However, what we get in an overproduced, pretentious, and rather disappointing record.
The album is produced by Aaron Sprinkle, whom many people might recognize as one of the main producers for Tooth & Nail Records, producing albums from bands like Demon Hunter, Thousand Foot Krutch, FM Static, and many other Christian bands out there, as well as Nine Lashes’ last record. Being honest, he really isn’t the greatest producer out there. He’s not really bad or anything in fact he is a pretty decent producer. He has done some great work in the past, it's just that he just has a tendency to have many other bands aim more towards a mainstream sound rather than what the bands want to sound like. It’s not that he forces them to do so which I highly doubt he does in the first place, but a lot of what he’s produced is relatively mainstream-sounding. Here, it’s not that he produces this album like a mainstream record, which he does, but it’s that he over-produces it.
The sound is filled to the brink with electronic sounds that might make your ears bleed throughout the whole album. The guitars are given a back-seat to make way for those sounds occasionally and it just doesn’t fit anything as to what Nine Lashes sounded in the past. The problems in this record and in World We View
are relatively the same, but it’s just that the weaknesses seem to take over the strengths. Nine Lashes are in way too deep in their comfort zone throughout the whole record, believing that putting in a bunch of electronic sounds will make a difference, which in fact worsens the whole predicament rather than solving it.
Almost all of the songs are rather blandly generic, or just sound like total garbage. The lead single Break the World
is probably the bands most generic piece yet, and that is saying something, because let’s face it; Nine Lashes is a very plain band. Where I Belong
is an example of what I’m talking about on how the guitars take a back seat for the electronics. It practically avoids the "rock" sound throughout and is more like a mainstream pop song you’d hear on the radio that ends up getting repeated several times a day. Surrender
is Nine Lashes attempt to make themselves sound original. It’s like Afterglow
from World We View
was actually good. Many may find some TFK influence in here, but I hear more of a “Red-meets-Thirty Seconds to Mars” kind of thing. If anything, this does sound relatively similar to “Love Lust Faith + Dreams” in terms of the production, and it’s disgusting.
Even so, there are a couple of catchy songs, like the first track Never Back Down
, which to be fair is an exception for the most part for the sound. There are guitars in it and it does feel like it should’ve been placed in Nine Lashes previous album. But even so, that fact does lay another problem. From Water to War
is more focused on having catchy songs rather than leaving an impact that will even have you remember the song. The only other song that may leave a lasting impression is Light It Up
which is the other exception to its sound problems, just only just. It does have the guitars placed in there, and it is quite catchy.
There’s nothing here that’s really worth mentioning, or anything that might even catch your interest. It’s just another bland, over-produced record and nothing else. I highly doubt anybody was even hyped up for this album in the first place. Granted, it was better than I thought it would end up being, but not that much better. Nine Lashes has simply wasted their potential here, which they had a lot of. The unfortunate thing is that if they think this is out of their comfort zone, then they have the wrong idea of what to do later in their future. It may not be the worst record ever, nor it may not be worst record of this year (it's only January people, give it time) but all in all, this may end up having Nine Lashes lose a few fans.