Review Summary: The dream is dust, the deed is done, and I’ve got my hands around the gun
The 2010’s have so far been an interesting period in terms of influences, with descending branches of bands taking their own styles and infusing them with the signature traits of their favorite bands. The Relapse Symphony is such a band, accumulating over half a million Facebook likes in only a little over a year. The Relapse Symphony take cues from Avenged Sevenfold and Black Veil Brides and combine with their own unique mix of Post-Hardcore and Pop Punk to create an infectiously catchy debut album complete with varied guitar passages, addictive hooks and a surprising amount of variety.
The determining factor of whether someone will enjoy this album or not will likely rest on their enjoyment of vocalist Bret Von Dahl. His range and note delivery is spot on and he has no problem carrying a tune, however he shares the same problem that Vic Fuentes and multiple other vocalists have in the fact that their nasally tone can be quite off-putting to some. If you can look past this minor stylistic difference, you’ll find that his vocal capabilities allow him to keep up with the often fast paced instrumentation without difficulty. His harsh vocals are another story entirely; after the second chorus in the ballad “Forever Slowly” this becomes apparent as he can jump from a low guttural to a high shriek with ease. The shame of it all is that his screams are underutilized on this album or throughout the majority of their discography. Gang vocal chants are another common feature prevalent throughout the album and will often help to elevate the impact of a verse. The lyricism is your standard optimistic affair in the vein of Black Veil Brides, often touching on themes of romance, finding strength in yourself and standing up for what you believe.
The instrumentation can be summed up in three words; catchy, technical and melodic. You have three types of songs on here, motivational anthems such as “We are the Broken”, pop punk jams such as “Angels Take Us, Demons Save Us” and darker rock numbers like the title track. The guitarists stand out here, riffing, sweeping and soloing away for the majority of the album and often take the spotlight in front of the other instruments. This doesn’t mean that the other instruments are lazy by any means, what’s surprising the most is that there’s quite a bit of technical bass work going on in the background, unfortunately the crisp production style undermines the bass’s impact a bit too much. The drumming throws in some interesting fills and pedal work here and there but it’s mostly your standard affair. There’s a fair amount of strings and piano littered throughout various tracks on the album as well, adding an extra dimension and bringing forth more atmosphere.
When a band takes more cues from their influences than most they always run the risk of possibly being written off as a copy band (Vampires Every-Manson), however The Relapse Symphony have blended their style so well that they have cemented their place in the scene as a unique band with plenty to offer, and it’ll be interesting to see if they can consistently deliver and capitalize on their strengths in future releases.