Slaves
Routine Breathing


2.0
poor

Review

by Zachery Cotto USER (20 Reviews)
August 21st, 2015 | 24 replies


Release Date: 08/21/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album so generic, with so many forgettable moments and copy/pastes from it's predecessor, that even the writing jumps the shark and refuses to take itself seriously.

Slaves. A band name that seems uninspired enough that it’s seemingly predestined to fall into obscurity and blend around with its peers and competitors. But yet, it hasn’t. Slaves have, in fact, held a consistent following and fanbase that seems to want to support them as much as they can. Enough so to make one wonder: “How has this band gained its following" What makes them stand out from the other bands around them"”

To put it bluntly, the answer to that is Jonny Craig. The former Vocalist for Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa, who is infamously known for his golden voice and for essentially being a golden asshole. Being notorious in his past for starting feuds, being kicked out of tours and bands, and major drug abuse, he has been outcasted as the black sheep in his musical scene. Going through rehab, getting parts of his life cleaned up, and trying to make amends, only to once again dig his own grave by being kicked off of Warped Tour 2015 right when it began. And as a result, being forced to pay off a large sum of debt in a small amount of time, it almost seemed inevitable that Slaves would fail and be forced to stop making music. Though, instead they somehow overcame this financial hurdle and large blow against their image, through the support of their fans. Through support of the people who wanted to hear their music, and who wanted to see them continue. And to repay the favor they decided to give their supporters what they want, the music. Deciding to release their sophomore album, Routine Breathing, ahead of schedule as a thank you for the support they received.

With all of the drama revolving around the band and it’s fanbase, it seems that the meaning of this band in many people’s eyes has shifted. It’s not so much about the music, but more so what the musicians do. Even their last album was held with a focus, in many peoples eyes, as an apology from Craig, with nobody truly paying attention to the actual music, but instead the overarching message from the main musician. Because of that, the question here is: “What about the music"”

Well, it isn’t very special. Nearly all of the tracks sound the same or ultimately similar to the one before it, and the entire album sounds remarkably similar to it’s predecessor, which suffered from a very similar issue itself. The album even has the gall to essentially take a track from their last record, “There’s only one God and His Name is Death” and rehash it as the song “One God.” Riffs seemingly are recycled, the same muddy guitar tone is used throughout all of the songs, and Craig continues to hit the same notes that he has been for so many years now. There is barely any musical progression to be found here. The only notable change is the welcome absence of guitar chugging and moody breakdowns.

The album is also a whopping 15 songs in length, which in this records case is a bit of a detriment, as most of the songs tend to run together and overstay their welcome. All of them having the same atmospheric, onenote sound, that shows no exploration outside of the core sound that they’ve nearly bled dry at this point.

It seems that most of the effort was put into the singles: “Drowning in My Addiction”, “Burning Our Morals Away” and “Death Never Lets Us Say Goodbye” as they all hold a bit more of a structure and even seem a bit better produced than the other tracks on the album. Though even then I wouldn’t say that these songs are stand outs for the album as all of the rest seem to just be extensions off of these key songs.

The songwriting in Routine Breathing is ultimately the most offensive thing on this record. All of the albums lyrics are so forgettable, uninspired, cringeworthy and hamfisted, it’s honestly a miracle that people can take this band and it’s muddled and confusing messages seriously. Ironically often having the message of “Wanting to leave their mark” when they barely seem to leave an impression on the listener.

Some of the song titles being so shallow and straightforward with no actual context, that the writer even resorts to giving them some of the stupidest and irrelevant sounding names like: “Shoutout to All My Toasters”, “We Are So Michelle Branch”, and “Running Through the Six With My Soul” that it’s almost laughable how much the band is trying to make it’s bland sound and songwriting stand out in all of the wrong ways.

Moments where the album actually stands out are few and far between, and those moments give you little reason for repeated play. “Shoutout to All My Toasters” Opens with a riff that is actually a bit experimental and is reminiscent of something off of a video game soundtrack, but afterward it continues to the same structure and lack of inspiration that plagues the rest of the album. “Winter Everywhere” sounds more like a Jonny Craig solo song then a Slaves song, and features a welcome vocal feature from current Dance Gavin Dance vocalist, Tilian Pearson. Despite the fact that the song suffers from the same thing the rest of the album does, it's enough of a treat and deviation from the core sound of the remainder of the album.

Overall, Routine Breathing is a jumbled mess of incoherent generic songwriting. Uninspired riffs and musicianship that carries through every track. And a lack of progression and effort that takes the key sounds and elements of the band’s previous album, and pastes them here. If Routine Breathing is a sign of things to come, then Slaves need to change their tune and present something new. Lest they fade into obscurity and lose the following they’ve amassed through their drama. Because despite the fact that they talk about wanting to leave their mark through their music, they’ve done anything but.



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user ratings (100)
Chart.
2.5
average
other reviews of this album
beachdude (2.5)
Captive to complacency....



Comments:Add a Comment 
ZachNyeScienceGuy
August 21st 2015


155 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Eugh... I need to reformat this when I have the time. This review is a little different from what I normally do. Feedback is appreciated!



You can buy the album here: iTunes - http://smarturl.it/mfyodj

Google Play - http://smarturl.it/mtca3m



ATTA
August 21st 2015


129 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good review! One God is the only song that, shouldn't even be in this album.The silly names for songs, is what Jonny Craig does. He's been doing it with all music he's made, and bands he's been a part of.

ZachNyeScienceGuy
August 21st 2015


155 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thank you! Though I'd have to disagree with that last statement. The only band where Jonny has really made song titles that were this ridiculous is DGD, and DGD always has stupid song titles regardless of vocalists. It's mostly a staple of that band. Not really Craig. Craig has some long winded song titles and a lot of sequel songs, but I've never really seen a non DGD Craig band with song titles like "We are so Michele Branch" "Shoutouts to All My Toasters" etc. it's kind of uncharacteristic and detracts from the music imo.

ATTA
August 21st 2015


129 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Exactly. Dance Gavin Dance yes, no matter any of the vocalist. Jonny must of went out on a stretch on these titles. His humorist side.

AndreBourbeau
August 21st 2015


65 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

idk, im enjoying this so far

AndreBourbeau
August 21st 2015


65 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

and emarosa's relativity also had some preposterous names, to be fair

TooManyFriends
August 21st 2015


2564 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

13 of the 15 songs on this album sound the same

ATTA
August 21st 2015


129 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

AndreBourbeau. That album sure did.

Sauce
August 21st 2015


882 Comments


i think a lot of us are growing tired of the opening "jonny is an asshole druggie who's been in a lot of different groups" paragraph... but i guess for someone less familiar with him it might make sense?

TooLateToGoBack
August 22nd 2015


1953 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Song featuring Spencer is dope.



So good to hear him scream him again.

riotview
August 22nd 2015


1 Comments


First of all "unforgettable" is usually used when something is being praised. Something you will not forget. You meant to use "forgettable". So you should fix that.

Second, this album sounds extremely different than their previous. All of their songs have real structure now, where as their debut kind of felt disjointed within songs. We get it. You don't like Jonny Craig or this band, clearly, so why even bother to review it when you know you have no intention of enjoying it?

ZachNyeScienceGuy
August 22nd 2015


155 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks for catching that. I didn't notice the typo.



Second, it's my opinion. You can disagree and you have every right to like this band and this album. But I reviewed this because I was initially interested in the album and it ended up disappointing me, so I gave my opinion. Telling me not to bother reviewing something because I didn't end up liking it is no different then telling someone that they shouldn't bother reviewing something because they loved it. The point of a review isn't to just throw out praise to a band or music left and right. That's why bad ratings are given. I went into this with a generally unbiased opinion of the musicians and band and I rated this solely on the art itself, despite what you might think.



I get it you're a fan of Jonny. I've heard complaints from many of them before. It doesn't mean that because you like his music so much you have to discredit my opinion, or make yourself believe I have illegitimate biased reasons for disliking something so you don't feel insecure about liking it.



And yeah, musically I think this album sounds exactly like their last one. I'm sorry you don't think that's the case, but I disagree. The same structure that was present there is here, and I can even swear listening to the albums back to back that they recycle riffs and melodies.

ZachNyeScienceGuy
August 22nd 2015


155 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Also I gave their last album a 3. So saying I don't like the band is far from the truth.

beachdude
August 22nd 2015


842 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I have pretty much the same opinion of this, very bland and uninspired overall. I actually REALLY like the Tilian song, and I think having one or two songs like that on an album that are so much better than the rest actually makes the rest of the album suffer in comparison. All I could think after I heard that song was, what if they'd put the same effort into the rest of the album as they did into that one song?? They would've had a solid album.

ZachNyeScienceGuy
August 23rd 2015


155 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah. I mean, to put it bluntly I feel like they just released the same album twice in a row, and I think "One God" is a good way to epitomize that. It sounds almost identical to the original and it fits in perfectly here. Nearly everything, barring Winter Everywhere, and maybe the first two singles, sound like B-Sides from their last record, imho.

beachdude
August 23rd 2015


842 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh definitely... the decision to make "One God" is really bizarre in and of itself and just screams laziness.

crowing51
August 23rd 2015


3501 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Lol, can't reviews serious if they criticize song titles lol. Dozens of brilliant albums that I'm sure you love have off,stupid non related, try hard song titles. They have nothing to do with the music.



How you rated the first album higher is beyond me. This is easily a step in the right direction compared to the first album. If this review was for the first album I would agree.



They actually have decent songwriting and song structures this time around. Even Jonny has managed to diversity his vocal delivery and melodies from his usual predictable runs that make him sound the same on every song from the last album.





cliiint
August 23rd 2015


1357 Comments


Really enjoyed Art but the singles I've heard from this are BORING. I'm really excited to hear the tillian song and the one with Spencer, aswell as one God bc for some reason I love rerecorded songs. But based on those singles I'm not expecting much.

cliiint
August 28th 2015


1357 Comments


This is better than Art

MyNameIsPencil
November 8th 2015


4955 Comments


I'd still do him though



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