Review Summary: "All's Well that Ends Well" Is an album that shines through today's music scene with it's thrashing guitars, aggressive screams, piano interludes, and feminine vocals. It's hard to not find something to like with this album.
Genre disputes are easier to start on Sputnik than a rumor by pre-teen girls in the schoolyard. For every person that classifies music this way, there is always another person who will fight to the death about how they're wrong. When I say that Chiodos can be considered "pop-metal" I don’t mean that they are necessarily a metal band, just a pop-punk band heavily influenced by metal. The strongest example of this influence is the guitar work on this album. The guitarists are constantly playing riffs and breakdowns that wouldn’t be out of place in a metalcore song. Equally melodic, yet metallic, leads accompany heavy rhythm sections. On several occasions, the guitars employ pinch harmonics as well as shredding, as in the first actual song on the album, "All Nerieds Beware". The guitars are unceasingly energetic and fast paced, which really provide an in your face feel to the album.
The guitars also do an excellent job accenting the high pitched vocals. While they are annoying at first, eventually they grow on you and you learn to really appreciate them. Thankfully, Craig breaks the high-pitched singing and blows you away with a devastating, high register scream. The screaming is another area where their metal influences shine through, as this guy could easily be the vocalist of any metalcore act. The clean vocals provide very catchy sections to each song while the screaming provides a brutal element to the music. Many songs on the album could really highlight the screaming, as in the very metallic (guitar-wise) song "There's No Penguins in Alaska", yet this screaming is really more of a periodic thing. The screaming is often times changed slightly with the use of some vocal effects, which for better or worse, cause them to sound similar to the high pitched screaming done by Alex of Atreyu. While some might think this is great, others might just have another reason to dislike this band.
This album is filled to the brim with excellent musicianship, and this applies equally to the keyboard player. The keyboards are used quite often and an effect that is sometimes dark, as in "Expired in Goreville", or they can be almost carnival like as in the completely useless "Interlude Pt. 2", which is basically a minute of extremely annoying keyboard sounds played repeatedly. The keyboard player, who looks strangely autistic during a live show, also handles piano duties. The band isn't afraid to break their assault on your eardrums and segue into a beautiful, soft piano breakdown before returning to their brutal attacks once again, as in the song "The Words 'Best Friend' Become Redefined", or the soft piano intro of "No Hardcore Dancing in the Living Room". These two elements are what really set this band apart form most other bands in the genre.
Not every band member is featured equally, though. The bass, for example does nothing but lay foundations for the guitar and is rarely heard in the chaos that is Chiodos. There is also less of an emphasis on the drummer, who basically provides a rhythm for the band to follow. Sure, he might do a little roll here and there, but his work is less interesting than that of the drummer of, say, Senses Fails Dan Trapp. If these two musicians were had a little more emphasis placed on them, this album would be truly special.
The lyrics, now are not good, yet not bad either. The lyricist has occasional bursts of creative, poetic lines, but then it's destroyed by something completely stupid. The best example of these bad, destructive lyrics is featured in the song "Expired in Goreville" where you hear "I'll love you till my last breath takes you from me" without any instrumental accompanying the vocals. This exposes the bands occasional use of tired cliches. The track names also feature certain cliches as well. These horrible lines destroy an otherwise ok lyrical performance.
The re-release also features beautiful acoustic versions of "Baby, You Wouldn’t Last a Minute on the Creek", "Queen of Diamonds", and "Lindsay Quit Lollygaging" as well as some concert footage, tour documentaries, and a music video.
So, all in all, "All's Well That Ends Well" is a very solid album if you can handle what's inside. From the chaotic whirlwind of thrashing guitars and throat-scratching screams to the soothing piano and feminine vocals, fans of many musical genres will find something to at least appreciate here. A great listen for almost anyone, I highly recommend this album.