Buffalo native metalcore band It Dies Today
had their previous effort The Caitiff Choir trashed in many of cases. Understandable, as while the group was very successfully with blending hard hitting verses with melodic leads and catchy choruses, their overall sound and song writing was incredibly generic. Than came their long and drawn out breakdowns. To put it simply, at times it seemed like they cared more about getting people to slam dance than to create memorable music. Two years later, enter Sirens
. This record certainly has a diverse sound from the previous effort of the group. A preview of the opening song right away hinted at a more mainstream feel. The tones sounded a little bit less intense, the screaming came off as a bit forced, and even the singing was sounding a little watered down from its previous powerful state. As far as the breakdowns went, they were far from their usual drawn out state but still present in few instances. For the most part, this album seems to be just written for the sake of writing. Things greatly lack what passion they had before and the result is a half hearted and monotonous album overall.
Right from the opening of A Constant Reminder
this mainstream feel comes out. The opening sounds a little bit more poppy compared to most of the previous efforts. That is until a blistering riff cuts the anticipation out of the air. Right away one will notice a bit of a decrease in quality as far as the riffs are concerned. It sounds like a standard C riff that every ‘core’ band on Victory has used before. A former strong point of the group seems seriously lacking thus far here. When the screaming comes in things sound quite sour. To be blunt it seems as though Nick has lost the fury his voice once held. His scream sounds very forced, dry, and lacking the passion it once had. On that end of the vocal spectrum he sounds near lifeless. Between the dry scream and the bland down tuned riffs this record was not off to a good start. Of course everyone was just waiting for a sung chorus, but once again disappointment is in the air. His singing sounds much less passionate than before here. The pitch is fine but it sounds like singing for the sake of singing and creating a catchy chorus. While they did accomplish the second part of that, the overall tone of his voice atop of the dull instrumental section serves up a tedious atmosphere. Unfortunately this is a sign of things to come, as most of the album suffers from this. For the most part things are listenable but just flat out not interesting.
One thing that will catchy anyone’s ear is the heavy opening of Reignite The Flames
. Its heavy state contrasts with some of the album but once more one cannot help but notice the weakened state of things. The riffs sound so standard and totally lack the punch they once held. It might be a mix of Nick’s new screaming style but I truly feel as though the riffs have been infested with a dreary state they cannot seem to escape. Since the riffs played such a big role in the group’s last effort, their feeble state really compromises the record’s power. Even the breakdowns sound dumbed down. While it is appreciated that they cut down on the excess use of them, It Dies Today completely fails at making the breakdown in this track effective. Nick’s dry scream leading into it is really rough of the ears and the overall breakdown just seems so half assed. The group should be throwing a haymaker at this moment but they cannot even seem to clench their fist. This track really suffers from this weak state and greatly lacks enthusiasm. However its follower Black Bile, White Lies
does provide some interesting sections. The first would be the wonderful drum solo at the beginning. Some rapid tom and snare transitions make this one stick out immediately. However the dry screaming really adds a rough state to the verse. It almost sounds as though Nick is losing his voice. His method here sounds a different from some of his other stuff, not working out for the better. It sounds as though he is straining to produce his yell. Thankfully the singing in the chorus is a least listenable as an effective riff is played over it. While lacking a bit of power, the singings smooth nature works well over the mid pitched riff. After a heavy bridge a guitar solo comes out. The group rarely uses a solo but when they do they seem to end up phenomenally. This is no exception as the lead line is quite melodic while using a bit of shredding spurts. The tapping section at the end works great as a wrap up and as a transition to the chorus. Though predictable it is a very fluent transition and works out effectively. Many great sections are present here but the weak verses hurt the song overall.
Solid overall songs are clearly difficult to come across here. However, the second track A Port In Any Storm
provides some nice melodic riff work along with listenable vocals. The guitar work is easily a highlight here as some beautiful harmonized melodies are played. Riffs are consistent and much more effective than plenty of the album. They seem to add nice touches to the chorus as well as to sections of the verse. Bass actually is heard during the verse as well, not doing anything special but than again at least it is heard right? Singing makes up the majority of the track, but works well here. The vocals sound a bit more alive than they do in plenty of other tracks. Once more possibly the guitar work spices them up a little more but regardless they give an acceptable performance. The chorus is repeated during the outro until Nick ends with a great scream. Those words aren’t said often regarding this record but his scream is quite effective as it accompanies an open C chord in ending the song. Another song which is quite worthy of a listen is The Sixth of June
. It is quite the poppy tune yet works out very well. The intro is a bit of a weird fade in progression with a phaser effect before Nicks singing cuts in. His vocals fit the song very well as he has a very smooth tone here. The guitars themselves play some great melodic riffs during the verse and some rock solid progressions during the chorus. There is even a magnificent melody based solo which is wonderfully written. Though following a very simple format, this song is delivered is terrific fashion. It sticks out as being a bit softer and mainstream friendly tune, yet they make the style work here. Sure is a shame that this could not be said for the rest of the record.
Sometimes a group tries to go a different direction. It is obviously at many moments here that It Dies Today is shooting for a more mainstream approach. Unfortunately, the only thing they end up shooting is themselves in the foot. Fans of their older style will most likely become tempted to yell sell out. Every single song has a sung chorus and breakdowns are pretty much extinct. The heavy riffs have been plagued with a dull and monotonous state save for some brief exclusions. So you would think that with those older fans gone some of the radio friendly metalcore fans will jump all over this due to the sung choruses and overall poppy atmosphere. Most likely not surprisingly, as the music sounds so watered down in many cases that it is not even worthy of multiple listens. It just does not have the thump that their previous effort did. They clearly can make their new sound work in some cases. However, it is quite inconsistent as the record is overall. Vocals mainly seem to be hit or miss here and represent just about the only thing on the record that gets ugly. The rest of the stuff is at least listenable, but with the abundance of bands out there why would you force yourself to listen to bland and dull music? Sadly with few exceptions those two words sum up Sirens
. Knowing what talent It Dies Today possess, this is not up to their standards and seems like an unfocused record. Perhaps with some more time and practice using this new style they will be able to make a consistent and a livelier record. Until than this album marks a definite step back for the group.
-A Port In Any Storm
-The Sixth of June
-On The Road
Final Rating: 2/5