Review Summary: The Fall of Troy shoots for the moon and ends up landing in a Hot Topic located in a dilapidated suburban shopping complex
The Fall of Troy has always been a band people loved to talk about. You had the kids who owned every Dance Gavin Dance shirt screaming in one ear how the guitar has never been played like Thom Erak, lead guitarist and vocalist, plays it while simultaneously being vocally bludgeoned to death by the pretentious metal heads who snub any song under ten minutes long or anything by a band not named Opeth. When I discovered The Fall of Troy back in 2010 while I was in eighth grade, I was caught somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I was at an age where heavy equaled tough and scary equaled cool. My iPod was filled to the brim with Slipknot and I had Cannibal Corpse out my wazoo because I believed with all my heart that that was the music that understood me best. ‘No one knows what it’s like to get an F on a paper you worked really hard on or have your crush go out with your best friend’, I told myself. I felt alone. And wouldn’t you know it, Doppelganger
was there to pick me up, dust off my clothes, and hold my hand as we pioneered this new frontier that was filled with unknown creatures of the opposite sex and funny-smelling plants that made you feel hungry and happy and all-knowing and insignificant all at the same time– a place known ubiquitously as junior high.
Unfortunately, like most middle school romances, this relationship was short-lived. As I grew up and musically matured, dipping my toes in several new genres and starting to actually pay attention to musical attributes like lyricism and concept and emotion, Doppelganger
stagnated. I tried to approach the album with my newfound insight, but it came up short. You didn’t exactly have to be Einstein to figure out the ‘hidden meaning’ behind these lyrics, which were half-baked tales of love, loss, and introspection that felt more like doodles in a notebook than full-fledged ideas and stories. The instrumental prowess, while undeniably present, seems to suffer from the opposite. Each song sounds exactly how it sounds–every riff, solo, and note these guys could think of was crammed into each song’s nook and cranny until it was so unfocused and bloated that it burst at the seems. “Whacko Jacko Steals the Elephant Man’s Bones” is the best example of this, perpetually shifting from one idea to the next and ultimately leaving the listener overwhelmed by its messy structure and cacophonous tone. Erak, who’s voice use to be a kick in the balls, now grated my ears and he sounded more like a pseudo-intellectual sap than the bad-ass I pegged him to be years before. “Mcacaulay McCulkin” starts interesting enough, ditching the typical atonal riff for a fluid and melodious one, but drags for its eight-minute run time. The most normal song on the album, “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X”, which was commercially propelled by its inclusion in Guitar Hero III, also happens to be the most catchy and accessible of the bunch. The screeches are kept down to a minimum, only included supplemental to the chorus, and provided by bassist Tim Ward, and the mid-section of the track features one of the most enjoyable head-banging moments of the album.
But at the end of the day, Doppelganger
feels more like a schematic than a final product. It shows hints of promise by offering a few truly enjoyable tracks (We Better Learn to Hotwire a Uterus” and “Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles”) but misses the mark holistically. It sounds like a demo, a collection of songs, rather than an album, and thus, leaves you with your finger hovering over the skip button more often than you’d like.
Sooner or later, we all grow out of certain things because a) we don’t want them anymore, b) they served their purpose and aren’t needed anymore, or c) because growing up and trying new things is a natural part of life. It’s the reason some of us choose to trade smoking our friends at Super Smash Bros. Brawl for smoking blunts with the same people you played those same games with. It's why your stuffed dolphin you had when you were younger that helped fight bad dreams is now sitting in a box somewhere in the attic.
was perfect for it was–a juvenile and rough-around-the-edges album that helped a kid get through an awkward transitional phase in his life. Alas, despite my previous statements, this album will always be sentimental to me. The Fall of Troy’s unique blend of Post-Hardcore and Progressive Rock provides an entertaining, albeit unbalanced, experience for the listener who doesn’t care so much about lyrical content and more so about being able to point out to his friends a cool riff or lick every few minutes. With the band’s somewhat recent announcement to reform and go back to the drawing board to create some new music, one can only hope that The Fall of Troy learns to filter its ideas and create a streamlined and focused album that is as fun to listen to as Doppelganger
was so many years ago.