Review Summary: Well, at least Chiodos don't suck THAT much anymore..
I don’t know, maybe Chiodos does get too much of a bad rep. Sure, Alls Well That Ends Well
sucked a lot. A whole lot, actually. But then, Bone Palace Ballet
is a really really really large step forward for the guys. I mean, the vocals still suck a whole lot and resemble really bad mixtures of Thomas Erak and Anthony Green, but at least they have a penchant for trying to create unique songs now. Its too bad it generally comes off as they’re just trying too hard for their own good.
Chiodos, at the end of the day, sound best as a really fun post-hardcore band with lots of pop-punk influence. They have plenty of upbeat melodies and frequently the use (excessive at times) of piano and strings really make listening to Chiodos seem like it could be a good time. Yeah Craig Owens voice is really strained and high pitched (read: gay), but I mean at times it is very catchy. All in all, they have a very good chance at becoming a better version of From First to Last meets The Fall of Troy really; except instead of a great drummers or guitarists they have solid guitarists and strange key + string incorporation.
Here is the giant downfall of Chiodos; they want to be a serious band. And they suck at it. All their attempts at being dark and brooding, at being morose and macabre, appearing to write dark songs all end up sounding incredibly forced and plainly stupid. Its obvious all the instruments are dying to be playing slightly progressive parts, in the vein of how Circa Survive rips off The Mars Volta, but they end up being relegated to second place behind really awkwardly placed key performances. Back to the main point here: Chiodos’ attempts at being a band you can take for serious (and at times even trying to pull of “intense”) are laughable, and generally end up being pretty self indulgent and ridiculous.
Another problem with the album is the songs constantly divert every which way at random times. The best thing I can compare it to that most people interested in this album have probably heard is The Use song “The Bird & the Worm.” The songs all try to progress strangely and I suppose interestingly; but what ends up occurring is it ends up being a giant ***ing mess of ideas. They jump from ideas to ideas with little real direction besides perhaps strings connecting the two or some terrible growl/scream over a pretty piano part. They do it over and over, and its really unfortunate considering they ruin great parts (like the first minute or so of “Teeth the Size of Piano Keys,” which could have been a full song and been fantastic) with following parts that just suck and reek of overreaching their abilities to write.
Chiodos have talent. I can’t deny that they really show here they could possibly write some great songs in the future, and maybe even put out a fully fleshed out album. Of course, its going to take a lot for me to like Craig Owens as a vocalist when he sounds like a dying cat a third of the time, a bad Thomas Erak/Anthony Green hybrid another third of the time, and the last third some weird extreme metal vocalist (a bad one at that). I cant rip on the album that badly though; there are genius parts to be found here and there, and I mean despite the fact they try to be dark on most of the songs they are still pretty bouncy a lot of the time. Chiodos gets points for the effort and promise; lets hope next time they can produce an album worth all the effort and live up to the expectation.