Review Summary: Trapped in my old ways.
As far as metalcore frontmen go, Landon Tewers has been a pretty distinctive personality. Ever since forming The Plot In You, primarily as an outlet for his every whim and thought in musical form, the man’s lyrical content has painted a violently multifaceted image of himself. There was the concept story about his abused childhood (First Born
), and then the collection of murder fantasies that was Could You Watch Your Children Burn
. Taking all this as fact, Tewers seems to have had quite a life, short as it still is at his young age. Perhaps that’s what has made his past work so much more intriguing than many of his peers. He’s always worn his heart on his sleeve, no matter how intimate and uncomfortable those feelings could be. It’s not really surprising then to see that Happiness in Self Destruction
takes it further than he’s ever been before, becoming his most painfully personal and emotionally uncertain record yet.
Happiness in Self Destruction
bleeds Landon Tewers because The Plot In You essentially is
Landon Tewers. Sure, he has backing musicians that have actually begun to contribute to the music in recent years, but from the days when he wrote First Born
all by himself up to now, the sound has remained firmly his. However, that should be taken with a grain of salt considering his sound has been the furthest thing from stable stylistically. This record continues that trend, taking the sound of Could Your Watch Your Children Burn
further into nu metal territory, while simultaneously spending about half the record indulging in melodic chorus-based songwriting. While neither side is perfectly or consistently executed, it’s the nu metal tendencies that let The Plot In You down the most. Fans have already gotten an earful or three of Landon’s pissed off side with the raging metalcore of First Born
and the ominous stomping anger of its follow-up. The amount of time Landon spends indulging that side here is not only overkill, but many of the tracks don’t have the songwriting to keep them afloat.
Time and again, it proves to be melody and introspective lyrics that hold Happiness in Self Destruction
up. A good part of that could just be that Landon’s rhythmic section doesn’t really hold up past playing out stale, but admittedly heavy riffs and beats. The emphasis on melody does add the musical depth that a lot of the album lacks. The closing title track is clearly meant to be a massive emotional climax of the record, but loses out due to directionless structuring and abrasive tones. The shorter songs are pleasant, entertaining, and strike the chords Landon has been trying to all along luckily. Truly, Happiness in Self Destruction
is Landon’s most mature and intensely personal record yet, and those factors work in its favor. However, it’s also self-absorbed, overlong, and lacks cohesion. Hell, it’s kind of self-destructive in and of itself, which may have been intentional, but that doesn’t really do it that many favors in retrospect.