Review Summary: The name may change, but the music's the same.
I don't know why I expect anything from Juliano and co. I've reviewed their two previous releases - Always and Forever
, and Memories
- and wasn't particularly pleased with either. I always chalked up the disappointment I had with the former due to frontman Steve Juliano's constant hype and comparisons with his previous bands work, while the latter release was just a mess. For their latest release, The Unexplainable Truth
, Requiem changed things up behind the scenes. Gone were several key band members and songwriters, and the redundant band name. But, none of this seems to matter.
The opening track, "Gather Round the Spoken Pile" is a look at what's to come later on. It's a short track, clocking in at 1:15, and has some decent atmosphere at the start. But in comes the toy piano, poor faux screamed vocals, and embarrassing lyrics, and it all seems like a laughable attempt at being dark. None of it really matches together and seems like the band just threw together a bunch of elements that darker and more aggressive bands might use.
Just like none of those elements seem to match, the rest of the album doesn't match the mood set in the opening track. Aside from the organ intro in "The Broken" and Juliano's signature cliche lyrics, the rest of the album drops all of that faux-goth drama that Requiem were known for.
The next several tracks, "Say Hello to the Devil for Me" through "Coma", are all average post-hardcore tracks that follow the same general formula. Juliano handles the verses, mostly screamed, while new addition Jacklyn Paulette emotionlessly sings half the chorus while Juliano picks up the rest. Occasionally Paulette will fill in some harmonies during verses, but you won't see any back and forth between the two vocalists, which seems like a missed opportunity given the addition of a second vocalist and how much Juliano wanted people to know that they picked up a second vocalist.
It's all very formulaic and by the books, which makes this a bit disappointing. Sure, "Goodbye Beautiful" is a glitsy pop/rock song, but it's just a poor rehash of Memories
' much better "Ghost of Winter". And "Now or Never Days" is a pop/punk influenced track with Paulette handling a bulk of the vocal duty. But for a second full length release, it's just disappointing to see band whose only idea of experimentation be a dubstep led breakdown.
Speaking of dubstep, electronic elements were never new to the band, but they were never entirely necessary, and were easily the weakest elements used in the past. While they aren't as frequently used here, nothing else seems to have changed. From the dubstep breakdown on "Coma", to the programmed drums on "Gather Round the Spoken Pire", to the cheesy intro in "Tall Tales of a Vermicious Knid", they're just as poor and out of nowhere as ever.
If you're a fan of generic post hardcore and are looking for a band that sounds like everything else you listen to, then you'll love The Unexplainable Truth
. If you're wanting anything else, then keep looking elsewhere.