Review Summary: The material ranges from horrible to legendary.
I remember listening to The Wolves Die Young and thinking, "Really. Again? This is it?" It sounded lifeless, uninspired, and tame. Then, desperately hopeful, I listened to it again, yet I still found myself disappointed by the track. Still latching on to my faith for the band, I listened a third time. Something was different. So I listened again and again and again. Something clicked.
They went on to release their second single, Cloud Factory. I remember thinking "What the ***? I guess The Wolves Die Young was an exception. If the rest of the album is like this song then this album will be worthless." But like Wolves Die Young, I was drawn back to this track, so I listened again, then a second time, and so on; the pattern had repeated itself. This was some of the best material I'd ever heard from this band and it dawned on me that this could end up being the band's best release, that is, if these two tracks indicated the rest of the album's quality. Pariah's Child quickly became one of my most anticipated releases in history.
Finally it was released, and by the time I listened to it around ten times, I found that my opinions were solidified and done evolving, my full conclusion drawn.
The album is good. I couldn't possibly classify it as a disappointment, although it didn't end up being the superhero of an album it could have been. Disappointingly, Wolves Die Young and Cloud Factory ended up being the best tracks on the album. This doesn't discredit the rest of the material, though; it's just that the aforementioned two tracks are just that
good. The rest of them mostly follow a familiar happy power metal formula, but somehow, the melodies just aren't all that infectious on the whole.
There are some really oddball, unique moments on the disc. Moments that come to mind are the soccer-stadium chanty part in Cloud Factory, the (bizarre) voice acting in X Marks the Spot, the massive choirs in Larger than Life, and the spoken word bit in Blood: "Blood is a bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells." (What am I ***ing listening to, exactly?) Also, while on the general subject of vocals, I'll mention Tony Kakko's performance.
He is at the peak of his career and his vocal delivery is the greatest highlight of the album.
Again though, a lot of the melodies on this album just aren't memorable. And for a band so reliant on catchy choruses this is kind of hard to accept. I'd even venture to say there are one or two moments on the album that are absolutely dreadful, an example being the first half of Take One Breath, which is repetitive and contains nothing redeeming. Another example would be the previously mentioned spoken-word parts that dominate most of X Marks the Spot, which feature a southern-accented babbling religious preacher. The worst part is that there's some pretty great music playing underneath the voiceovers--music that's almost impossible to focus on.
All that said, there are
a handful of moments on the album that are sublime though, but unfortunately, those moments are far too inconsistent on Pariah's Child. But overall, this is a fairly solid record that is likely to be enjoyed by fans of the band's newer as well as older material. It's a nice return to form for the band, just one lacking lasting appeal and consistency. I recommend this album so long as one doesn't go in expecting anything revolutionary.