Review Summary: The skippable one.
“Violent Allies”: an album title embodying the generic lyrics therein. It’s a shame that a band known for thought provoking lyrics would showcase such mundane, top 10 pop lyrics as their motif. Indeed, they attempt to pull out as many shades and analogies out of the same hat, but the lyrics are largely paltry, morose tales of love issues with a girlie. This was a band that used to stand for something, writing lyrics that challenged the very essence of humanity with each line. The lyrics in Violent Allies, however, brandish as much heat as a dead fireplace. They’re not just generic, they tarnish the band’s legacy, and don’t convince me of the band’s ability to care anymore about their produced material. Speaking of the material…
Since The Autumn Effect, every release had some special feature, but there is absolutely nothing unique about this album. The harsh vocals are back, skipped in the previous album, but their inclusion barely makes a dent because tracks are flat, soulless, robotic clones of their previous music, minus interesting songwriting. At their most aggressive, songs are recycled from Feeding the Wolves, but outside of such tracks, the album is unmemorable. There is not a single melody that doesn’t sound ripped from another album. It’s 10 Years at their most routine, and most uninspired.
Let’s dig into the first half of the album. The Shift is one of the better ones, sounding like it wouldn’t be ill fitting on Feeding the Wolves, angsty riffs and such - it’s a great opening track. The second Track completely drops the ball, stealing ideas from 2000s pop, sounding like it could be played alongside Coldplay’s Sky Full of Stars. This change of tone is bizarre, and doesn’t sound like 10 Years at all. The third track starts with a Nirvana-type riff that drags through the verse, until a generic bridge hits; the song explodes with an angsty butt rock chorus that is decently energetic, but once again doesn’t sound like 10 Years. The next track Deja Vu says, “Turn off the songs, they all sound the same”, and ironically is a clone of their classic track Shoot it Out. Without You is more butt rock, though Cut The Cord finally sounds like 10 Years, a song that could almost fit on From Birth to Burial, finally a decently hard hitting song. Going track by track like this displays the faulting of the album: it’s leftovers. The first half of the album is derivative, but not as punchy or original as previous releases, in fact, originality isn’t even on offer. From Thousand Foot Krutch to Breaking Benjamin, these tracks could’ve easily come from any radio band.
The second half of the album starts promising with an interlude strongly reminiscent of acoustic-heavy tracks on The Division. The next track Sleep in the Fire breaks in with a riff that borrows certain guitar patterns from the previous track. Neat, but the track is yet more forgettable, heavy rock and the chorus lyrics are annoyingly repetitive. I Wish has great singing wasted in an early 2000s tv theme song motif, except flaccid and emotionless. Start Again is one of the stronger tracks, focusing on 10 Years’ moody edge they thrive on. Planets IV arrives after, another pretty interlude, gently bringing us into the final track Say Goodbye. Say Goodbye is a wonderful track, with strong shades of The Autumn Effect, but the track has no problem standing on its own.
In summation, generic heavy rock/metal comprises most of Violent Allies. There’s enough riffs and solid choruses to give people what they want, but 10 Years’ creative songwriting, soulful lyrics, and unique singing style are greatly reduced. Songs are streamlined to repeat choruses until they’re blue in the face, losing their effect. A handful of riffs ignite the fire, only to be lost in a sea of unmemorable tracks that overly rely on auto-tune. Bland and stale, Violent Allies is 10 Years’ worst album by a mile, so predictable and safe it has no staying power considering 10 Years’ otherwise excellent discography.
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With Violent Allies 10 Years are simply appealing to a more commercial audience once again...
Album Rating: 2.5
It is done
Album Rating: 2.5
You hit the nail on the head, we’re fully in agreement on this one, right down to individual songs.
If you thought FtW was the most boring, generic 10 Years album, Violent Allies arrived and asks you to hold its beer. This is the music equivalent of fast-food and the band feels like they’re punching the clock for a shift at Arby’s. This thing feels like it was constructed by suits in a record label board room to maximize sheer general appeal. Every power-chord, chorus, and lyrical motif feels like it’s aiming for the lowest possible common denominator and the shortest attention span.
Like, when the best tracks on your album are the fucking interludes, you know you have a problem. What makes this leave an extra sour taste in my mouth is that (imo) the band was on a bit of a hot-streak and late career revival with the last couple efforts, so seeing them swerve into the gutter like this with something so low-effort is disconcerting.
The opener and closer are solid, and Cut The Cord is actually unironically a banger and the only memorable track here. The rest is a total wash, in one ear and out the other. And holy shit, Great Unknown is so fucking cringe, it sounds like a fucking graduation song. Probably the worst song they’ve ever done, and more bafflingly it was chosen as a lead single to promote the album. The mind boggles.
Our boys are hurting bad on this album, and they’ve got nothing in the tank except copy-paste radio-rock from the early 2000s. A sad state of affairs. I’m personally hoping this is just a blip on the radar and they will bounce back with something more worthwhile in the future. It seems they’ve taken longer putting together the follow-up, so maybe they’ve engaged in some much needed soul-searching and will recalibrate. They’ve released one new song from it, and while it’s pretty much in the same vein as this, it’s actually a fun little number and the lyrics have more bite than this.
Great review pizza, you spilled way more ink on this than it deserves. I said I couldn’t go higher than 2.0, but you’ve convinced me to bump up to 2.5 because this isn’t terrible, it’s just so boring and recycled. And fuck, the lyrics on this are bad, like Chester Bennington tier wordsmithing. It blows me away how wildly hit-or-miss Jesse is at lyrics.
Album Rating: 2.5
Also, is it just me or is there way more auto-tune on the vocals this time? Like… why? Just, why. Also lastly, I have a theory as to why the interludes are called Planets 3 and 4, but I could wrong. I was wondering where Planets 1 and 2 were, then I realized maybe Planets 1 is the interlude at the end of Cast It Out, and Planets 2 is the interlude at the end of Picture Perfect.
Album Rating: 2.5
“fucking graduation song.”
— Lmao I thought the same thing.
— Sounds like we agree on basically everything like you said haha. The autotune is like Feeding the Wolves but much more obnoxious. You’re right, the album is fast food. The lyrics are generally cringe etc. I’m working on a Deconstructed review btw.
Album Rating: 2.5
Yeah I'm glad we're 100% in agreement for once, it's a nice change of pace.
It's kind of crazy that they made this right after Deconstructed, because that whole album shows how creative they are at re-interpreting old songs and how talented they are musically, and they follow it up with this... The only way I can rationalize it is they were desperate during COVID lockdowns and it led to poor choices in the studio. I can't even blame them for that. It was a crazy time, a lot of people put out amazing music, a lot of people put out terrible music. A lot of musicians' money was fucked with badly.
Still, I expected more from the boys. I jammed this again tonight just to make sure I wasn't completely biased for your review, and I can safely say I will never listen to this again.
Album Rating: 3.5
I feel like the first half of this album is really solid and then trails off a bit. Deja Vu and The Unknown are insanely catchy!