Review Summary: Bring on the pandemonium, and don't forget the booze.
Stability is something incredibly desirable for a lot of people: the maintenance of a routine that remains constant over time and place, never shifting from a comfortable status quo. Of course, life rarely gives anyone that chance—suppose that’s what propels people towards such wishes, after all—and that cozy blanket of familiarity is ripped from one’s hands, torn into pieces, then thrown right back with an air of ‘what are you gonna do about it"’ That may be a tad overdramatic, but life tends to bring that ham acting aspect out of humanity, spiking emotional intensity beyond the norm. When Zapruder was faced with the prospect of their vocalist going across the globe, severely restricting the time the band could be together as both friends and recording mates, there was clearly only one solution for the crazy Frenchmen: make some equally crazy-ass, metalcore-hybrid album. The tongue-in-cheek, raucous result stays true to the group’s commitment of making their most personal album yet; Zapruder amp up the zany riffs, crushing heaviness, and overall aggression, contributing another gem to a genre that has been very much alive for the year.
The sound Zapruder aimed for on Fall In Line
managed to blend the tempo-jumping nature of uninhibited metalcore alongside the group’s pension for post metal-inspired crescendos and destructive climaxes. While such weighty passages certainly lurk around the winding, Funhouse-esque hallways of the self-titled effort, it’s an unexpected third party that ends up being the significant contributing influence: rock n’ roll, spiced up just right with the addition of some jazzy rhythm and groove components. Album opener “I Left My Appendix in NYC” makes this immediately evident, barging through the door accompanied by a crunchy guitar part bouncing at a medium pace. When paired with an expressive vocal lead—shouts, screams, gravely cleans and falsetto backing tones galore—there lies a sort of swagger that almost appears like Trophy Scars. These traits act as subtle improvements to every track that lines Zapruder
’s runtime, highlighted especially in the aforementioned introduction and the bluesy “Leaving Montreal.” Perhaps the most notable addition to Zapruder’s fresh direction is the increased presence of the band’s saxophone player. Previously featured sparingly throughout Fall In Line
, the distinctive woodwind finds itself appearing prominently on half of the record’s songs, acting as a centerpiece for “Leaving Montreal” and “Back in Town” specifically. In the context of the album’s jazz-metalcore-party aesthetic, the sax doesn’t feel forced in the slightest and enters the fray purposefully.
A fair amount of experimentation inevitably emerges from such a collection of sounds and inspirations. Choruses are now a prevalent factor, guitars seem to tear away on squealing escapades reminiscent of Hell Songs
-era Daughters, the bass switches from background waltzing to pounding intensity, speed limits are broken liberally—the list goes on. The award for the most undeniably wild venture, however, goes to the frantic “Piss Soaked”. A chaotic, Dillinger-approved riff sprints ahead, holding hands with a correspondingly unruly saxophone that busts out a solo as a whistle chirps in the background. Everything collapses into an absolutely devastating breakdown that brings down the might of Zapruder’s sonic output. Far from abandoning their classic style, however, the collective improves upon its multiple elements, embodying themselves in “Martin Bell” ‘s 6-minute duration. Here is where Zapruder decide to unleash their post-metal tidal wave, combining a colossal assault of a thunderous rhythm section and a dark, sludge-stained guitar line. As soon as one begins to settle in and enjoy the groove that ends up being produced, the band abruptly launches into a metalcore spurt that is then cancelled by a guitar solo. And if things couldn’t be even further expanded, the track concludes in over a minute of static, slowly receding in the distance, allowing the listener to recover—if only for a bit.
It’s no secret that Zapruder
ends up equating to a much different beast than its predecessor. The ferociousness and simultaneous restraint displayed on Fall In Line
evoked a seemingly somber tone, contemplating features of society. There was a sort of separation from life, viewing it from an outside perspective instead of being introspective. Any thematic veneer is replaced by a gigantic middle finger being drunkenly thrust in the face of those routine-shattering obstacles that always crop up. Rather than surrendering, Zapruder feel more energized than ever. The party attitude has a bad rep when approaching music, but in this case it’s hard to have qualms with it; the Frenchmen are technically proficient, musically talented across the board, and coordinated in a very tight manner. In a record that is up in arms against life, it’s simultaneously full of it: of that overdramatic, theatrical bravado that’s stored up in each and every being. No need to bottle up emotions when it’s possible to just drink the whole serving, smash it on the nearest countertop, and wave it around in the air. Zapruder
is an open invitation to metalcore’s rave of the year—the only requirement is to remember to rock out and not give a damn.