Slaves
To Better Days


4.0
excellent

Review

by resident shit music stan USER (56 Reviews)
August 8th, 2020 | 33 replies


Release Date: 08/07/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Onwards.

What is there to say about Slaves at this point that hasn't been said? Starting out as ex-Dance Gavin Dance singer Jonny Craig's pity party, it eventually evolved into a far more competent band than DGD themselves ever were (sorry, folks), if only because Craig was surprisingly superb at finding various backing bands to put up with him every few album cycles and had a very impressive soul-tinged voice to compliment the music (he was basically Tyler Carter without the suck). But with every Jonny Craig success, there's always heroin there to screw it up for him, and Slaves' backing musicians eventually got tired of his stubborn refusal to get clean and booted him out like Dance Gavin Dance did so long ago, recruiting Matt McAndrew, more or less the only good semi-mainstream talent to come out of The Voice bar Christina Grimmie, to take over. Certainly, they've seen better days, and that's what fuels their aptly-named fourth effort To Better Days.

To Better Days owes far more to pop than it does to post-hardcore, likely to capitalize on the success of Bring Me The Horizon's latest works (something nearly EVERY scenecore artist is doing at this point). Synths and programmed drum beats are brimming throughout the album, but unlike many of their genre peers such as The Word Alive and even BMTH themselves, they manage to consistently make it work throughout the entire album. Matt McAndrew's vocals are most definitely the highlight here; he has everything that made Craig so successful but amplified to greater levels and with flaws far less apparent. The backing band are at the top of their game as well—guitarists Weston Richmond and Felipe Sanchez as well as bassist Colin Vieira compliment McAndrew with some of the strongest riffs this band has brought to the table despite the genericity, while drummer Zachary Baker provides a fine backbone to the rhythm section. What truly powers To Better Days is both McAndrew's vocals and the deeper shift into pop—rather than going utterly bats**t insane and forgoing any attempt at substance for style like Telle Smith and Jared Leto did, Slaves are content to mix their comfort zone in with the deeper pop territory, and it surprisingly makes the album a refresher.

What the band needs to improve on right now are their lyrics. Sometimes they're flashes of greatness (primarily in the verses), and other times they fall right on their face. For every "Witch Hunt" ("I was hoping we could let the dust settle / Till you started looking for a mark from the devil") and "Heavier" ("I take the blame / I wanna change / But I can't settle the score / Now I'm a slave to better days / And I'm not willing anymore") there's a "Like I Do" ("No one ***s with me like I do / No one ***s with me like I do / And after everything I've been through / No one ***s with me like I do"—did they buy this chorus from Ivan Moody?) ready to kill your confidence in the band's writing ability. The prowess is there, but it needs to be drawn out a bit more. The other weak spot is unsurprisingly the mixing; nearly every mixing problem of the past several years is present in To Better Days—brickwalling, suffocation of dynamics, and it's ilk. But at the bottom line, To Better Days is a renaissance for the band. With Craig out of the band and their visible willingness to improve and try other things, they're well on their way to better days.



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user ratings (59)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Valzentia
August 8th 2020


1102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/6YEVsL2XC0eofmjyGgoBvi



tl;dr: Slaves does BMTH better than BMTH, constructive criticism appreciated, commence bad thread consisting of people desperate to make Jonny Craig MacBook memes

Digging: The Bunny The Bear - Afterglow

veninblazer
August 8th 2020


11755 Comments


Where's my MacBook bro

Digging: Deftones - Ohms

parksungjoon
August 8th 2020


22191 Comments


good revue

Digging: Have Mercy (MD) - Armageddon Descends

Mort.
August 8th 2020


15177 Comments


i wonder if jonny will ever bee able to stay in a band

botb
August 8th 2020


14082 Comments


Imagine being a band of white dudes and calling yourself slaves

JefferyBigglestein
August 8th 2020


2818 Comments


new slaves

ReturnToRock
August 8th 2020


3795 Comments


I came here expecting this to be about the frankly excellent British minimalist indie-rock duo.

I am disappoint.

Valzentia
August 9th 2020


1102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I came here expecting this to be about the frankly excellent British minimalist indie-rock duo.



I am disappoint."

that's my specialty

maximomckinnon
August 9th 2020


70 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agree with the score and a lot of the points, but like a third of this reads like a backhanded hit piece on scenecore bands/vocalists rather than a focused review on the album itself LOL



not an overt criticism, it was a fun read for sure, but maybe don't spend that much of your review slagging off other musicians haha

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
August 10th 2020


12235 Comments


Imagine being a band of white dudes and calling yourself slaves [2]

Valzentia
August 10th 2020


1102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"a third of this reads like a backhanded hit piece on scenecore bands/vocalists rather than a focused review on the album itself LOL"

I tried not to go overkill—it appears that failed

Joeman82
August 11th 2020


1424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Perhaps this will grow on me, but there isn’t that much special to me here or truly anything different other than a new singer. Some of the chorus are a little grating to me too but idk. There are some admittedly pretty good pop rock tracks on here.

J3wFro69
August 11th 2020


65 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Far better than I was expecting it to be. Vocals really carry this once again, whether it's Craig's asshole that's there or the new vocalist. Good review, pos'd

BeeRyan
August 11th 2020


1579 Comments


In what universe is this more 'compotent' (a stupid word to use here anyways) than dgd? I don't even like dgd but they're huge now, and obviously know what they're doing. WhAt?

Sinternet
August 11th 2020


23186 Comments


"I came here expecting this to be about the frankly excellent British minimalist indie-rock duo."

there's a shite sleaford mods ripoff called slaves from fucking tunbridge wells, don't remember an excellent one though

Digging: Holy Fawn - Death Spells

GhostB1rd
August 16th 2020


7047 Comments


Botb is gonna be so fucking surprised when he learns that slaves literally is word derived from enslaved slavic people.

GhostB1rd
August 16th 2020


7047 Comments


Oh goody sitar is gonna be happy to learn some history too.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2020


12235 Comments


TIL that Slaves (the band) is slavic. Thanks Ghosty!

Snake.
August 17th 2020


22478 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

imagine being a band of white dud- *ahem* non-slavic caucasian males and calling yourself slaves

GhostB1rd
August 17th 2020


7047 Comments


You guys do know that millions of white people of various ethnic groups have been slaves historically, right?



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