True experimentation is a rare thing in today's music. Many bands choose to stick to a path the listener will almost definately like, and not give them too many surprises that need judgement. Yet, there are always bands which push boundries and make the listener judge the music they are listening to because of it's unauthodox structure. The Receiving End Of Sirens are a 5 piece band, 3 of which play guitar. It's been done, but honestly, not well. And here, we have one hell of an experiment, crossing genres of rock, dance and post-hardcore.
Intro tracks don't usually get me pumped up for anything, yet "Prologue" builds up perfectly and sends you straight into "Planning A Prison Break" with lots of energy flowing around. This, the single, is one of the best tracks on the album, setting the tone for the next 70 minutes. A rarity, I suppose. It's catchy, and changes tempo and style with a cunning amount of subtlety. By half-way through this song, the technical side of TREOS shines brightly, and the harmonisation of the 3 guitars work against each so well, especially in the chorus' (Which change riffs and tempo everytime you hear it).
"The Rival Cycle" is a lot more slowed down, yet equally as long as the previous track (Over 5 minutes each). Electronic pounding beats are placed over a effortless melody and harsh drumming, and it sounds wonderful. The cross between screaming and singing also works nicely too. "The Evidence" is another downbeat track as well, whereas "The Way Of All Against All" is incredibly epic and grand, with rolling drums and much more structure than the previous songs.
"...Then I Defy You, Stars" is a much more heavier track, combining the vicious screams you barely hear in the other tracks which thick riffs which scream loudly. It's disappointing that it lasts too long though, otherwise this song would fit nicely at the end of the 6 minute track before it. Now, let me get something straight. I can't stand those tiny snippets shoved between albums to supposedly give the listener a break. Yet TREOS's "Intermission" sounds like a masterpiece of instrumentalism. 4 and a half minutes of electronically fused and relaxing music, including a piano piece and slowed down drumming. And again, it builds up without your knowledge, until you realize the hastiness of the drumming, the high and distorted sounds of the guitar.
Onto the second half of the album, and "This Armistice" picks things up perfectly. Short bursts of palm-muting work well in the verses, and the downbeat chorus brings out the lyrics amazingly (“Give me gravity/Give me clarity/Give me something to rely on…” ). Of course, those metallic licks provide the harsher sound TREOS are known for. "Broadcast Quality" sounds similar to "Prison Break", with a faster energy building up into a heavy and beasty sound. Not quite as easy to listen to, or as memorable, but it's funky basslines makes it a lot better.
"Flee The Factory" begins very slowly, with a distorted bassline, then a guitar melody leading into the intro to the song. It isn't the best song on the album, lacking mood and it seems to have too much going on at once. "Dead Men Tell No Tales" is another catchy track, utilizing those powerful basslines and pounding drum beats. It's dual vocals of screaming and singing work brilliantly as well, setting them apart from todays "screamo" trend.
The next track, "Verona", is very Thrice-like. It's melodies run through beautifully, and it brings out more of those amazingly written lyrics again (They sing the requiem to a closed casket burial/Your conspiracy: conspiring to deliver me to the authorities" ). The album ends with "Epilogue", recapping lyrics from "Prison Break" against a slowed-down yet equally as powerful melody. Without the hidden track, this song would be the shortest on the album at around 3 minutes, but after about 10 minutes of silence, we are treated to a symphony of choir music and rhythmic drumming.
It's hard for me to judge this album, because every track sounds like a masterpiece in it's own, and sounds like it's taken lots of thought and consideration to build together. Yet, most seem too long and lack distinct features which set them apart from the rest. The songs sound similar, and it's hard to tell where you are with this album. Which is a shame, because both the lyrics and music are outstanding. Every song is no less than 4 minutes, and end with an electronic feel leading to the next track. It's somewhat like The Sound Of Animals Fighting, but without the uncessessarly long interludes. Pick this up if you like technical rock songs that sound heavy and polished. The electronics are sort of a bonus.