Review Summary: This Romantic Tragedy create an excellent debut full-length, re-inventing themselves and showing that a cluttered genre can still have gems amongst the rocks.
This Romantic Tragedy have steadily built up a loyal fan base over the past couple of years, releasing a couple of EPs and gradually maturing over time, they've finally come to the end of the maturation cycle with their first full-length album, Reborn. Reborn isn't your typical post-hardcore/metalcore album, it's refreshing due to it's great execution and it offers a lot from such a stagnant genre. Reborn isn't original and it isn't re-inventing the subgenres of today but its definitely a strong step in the right direction. Reborn has conceptual undertones about certain events that have happened throughout the band members lives (e.g. 9/11) mixed with fiction for dramatic affect. If you enjoy the metalcore/post-hardcore genre then you will enjoy what This Romantic Tragedy have to offer.
Vocally, TRT are exceptional, they are strong in the singing and screaming department. The screamer, Chad Dague, has a superb range, from vicious highs to deep gutturals that are filled with passion, in my opinion he is one of the best vocalists in the scene at this current moment in time. His screams flesh out the songs and add that extra 'kick'; they're also utilised to build up climax and create memorable moments. Another great aspect about his vocals are they mould together sweetly with the singing, creating a contrast of urgency and emotion to elegance, boosting the album's overall atmosphere. An example of Chad's ability is the ending of 'Among the Brave', where 'RUN' is growled with ferocity and desperation, it literally sent a shiver down my spine. Now the singing is also just as good, Sean Neumann has quite a high voice but it isn't anywhere as high as say Jagmin. His voice fits just right with the tone of each song, TRT have structured the vocals carefully making sure they're fitting to the certain parts of the song, ensuring they don't sound out of place. Neumann's vocal range generally stays quite high and it's impressive, it may take some time to get used to because on certain songs his accent comes through and it can sound a bit unusual (e.g The Great Beast). TRT are vocally strong and they're enjoyable at the same time, and the back and forth sections between Chad and Sean are great. 4.5/5
Musically, TRT are adept; the guitars sound bold, throwing in a few riffs here and there, they manage to keep the breakdowns interesting and they stop them from getting tedious by adding small intricacies here and there, such as switching up the tone. The drums are kept at a good pace but generally take a back seat, which isn't a bad thing because now and then you hear the drummer show off. Now TRT use synthesisers, the dreaded instrument of modern day metal but they use it to benefit and improve their sound, there aren't any awkward moments, it all seems to fit together nicely and helps the songs and album flow with ease. Some synth moments help create the climatic set pieces, there are variations; it isn't the standard sounding synth throughout, some is more 'trance', some more of a darker house-techno synth and sometimes its an orchestra adding to the more dramatic atmosphere of the songs. The synth never gets too 'sickly', what I mean is it boosts Reborn as a whole and they don't sound over-produced and 'overly sweet' like I See Stars. I was quite surprised by Reborn, it seems for once a band has worked the structure of their songs around the instruments and how the instruments will actually help push the songs forward and make them better rather than just plotting a breakdown here and there and thinking, 'that sounds ok'. There aren't many sporadic moments, which would of been nice to see a mash-up and a more diverse variation of structure but TRT have done well to compose an album with such competence. Lyrically, Reborn is pretty good, some parts are ridiculously catchy and the lyrics have been written to fit the mood of the song and to tell a story and they do just that. Moreover the tone of the album is pretty serious with optimism splashed here and there, it's good. 4/5
Sonically, Reborn sounds crisp and heavy. The electronics are injected into the mix adding to the nice palette of sounds already on display. The album is pretty heavy, it generally stays at a set standard of 'heaviness', the only time it really gets softer is with the clean vocals and some synth parts. Sound-wise, Reborn is a post-hardcore/metalcore album at heart but TRT have managed to create their sound which defines them; although they don't really go out of their comfort zone, they don't have any ballad-esque moments or anything disgustingly heavy, it's just somewhere in the middle, sometimes dipping their toes but they rarely go for the full effect. Reborn is an enjoyable album to listen to with plenty of sonically digestable moments which sound sensational. 4/5
Overall, TRT have released an excellent debut which is filled with emotion and heart. It doesn't get tiresome and it doesn't become musically tedious, it has plenty of replayability and it shows that there are still some good bands left. Reborn is an all-round, strongly fleshed-out adventure that manages to convey various feelings along with enjoyment. It demonstrates that TRT can use their instruments to create delights and play music effectively.