Like Moths to Flames
The Cycles of Trying to Cope


4.0
excellent

Review

by artificialbox USER (14 Reviews)
May 16th, 2024 | 20 replies


Release Date: 05/10/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Cycles of Being Dope

Core fans are all too familiar with the story of a new band busting onto the scene with a stellar debut or sophomore album before fizzling out with a series of mediocre follow-ups as the band either waterboards themselves for the sake of mass appeal, or simply shifts in a new direction which no longer resonates with their day one listeners. Much more atypical is the story of a band that keeps their nose to the grindstone, taking measured steps as they form a fistful of wet clay into a towering sculpture.

Like Moths To Flames have been playing the long game, whether you like it or not. Almost consistent to a fault, their discography has seen very little wavering in style over the years. The band has spent over a decade steadily refining and making small tweaks to their signature heavy-tech-melodic sound, but due to the Sisyphean nature of Chris Roetter & Co, their latest effort also comes with very little in the way of surprise. The rock is still being pushed up the hill. What sets this album apart from prior releases is mainly that of perspective and experience. Where is there left to go when every fork in the road tapers toward an unscaleable monolith? For Like Moths To Flames, the answer seems to be… further inward.

The Cycles Of Trying To Cope wrestles with the ebb and flow of the human psyche, eternally bound to a nature which is flawed beyond our control. The way this manifests audibly; a roller coaster whiplash of tracks spanning the sonic realms of grief, anger, guilt, and a touch of acceptance. Proof of the nuance gained over their career is in the way these emotions are encapsulated and expanded upon. Whereas 2020’s No Eternity In Gold yearned to strike balance with every song, TCOTTC is seemingly a practice of mindfulness; fully allowing oneself to experience a feeling without filtering it through further intellectual processes. “Angels Weep” and “Paradigm Trigger” open up the album this way by reminding us that it’s okay to be pissed, only to remind us again with “The Shephard’s Crown” at the mid point of the album. These tracks feature very little in the way of clean singing or needless bargaining for empathy, and are the perfect counterpoint to the softer cuts like “Gone Without A Trace” and “Kintsugi”. Balance is not lost however, as anger and sadness tend to come in waves, but even as we are guided through peaks of ferocity and valleys of somber introspection, face melting riffs still pummel away like laser beams ricocheting inside a metal cage.

The addition of Zach Pishney on guitar in 2016 really breathed new life and creative juice back into the band when they needed it the most. His talents are made even more apparent here than ever before as he flexes his ability to be omnipresent on the fretboard while frying the synapses of your brain with stun locking strum patterns. The dude can write a tasty lick, and even during breakdowns, he is hardly content to linger on one note for too long. The chemistry between Zach and Chris is a match made in heaven, with both knowing exactly when to push or pull to let the other shine. The melodic leads during the chorus of “To Know is to Die” is one of my favourite examples of this chemistry in action, even if it only lasts a few seconds. The way the notes elevate Chris’ vocals and then fall away as he sustains the end of each bar is just glorious. Chris has been one of the most consistent vocalists in the game for a long time, and he doesn’t really have anything left to prove at this point. Some of the clean choruses on this album are admittedly a bit weaker than they have been in the past, but the band more than makes up for it by flooring the intensity during verses and breakdowns.

At the end of the day, Like Moths To Flames’ greatest strength is also their greatest crutch. The fact that they continually decide to double down instead of wander is what made this album such a huge crowning achievement for the band, but it also comes with the risk of falling on weary ears. This album doesn’t do much that they haven’t done before, it’s just done better, and that works well enough for me. For a metalcore band who debuted in 2010 to be releasing arguably their strongest record this late in their career is borderline unheard of, but The Cycles Of Trying To Cope is proof that a strong work ethic, paired with a terminal case of tunnel vision, can often yield remarkable results.



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3.7
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Comments:Add a Comment 
artificialbox
May 16th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

mk beat me to the punch, but I'm still posting this just to add to my portfolio.

thank you for reading or not reading, whateva.

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
May 16th 2024


1863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

LFG! Nice write up @artificialbox! Really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the album.

onionbubs
May 16th 2024


21547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

cool write up. really need to give this more than 1 listen



i didn't realize they had a lineup change around dark divine. kinda explains things a bit ig

Rowhaus
May 16th 2024


6264 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Honestly had no idea these guys were still going. Pretty fun little album right here

artificialbox
May 16th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thanks guys!



also yeah @bubs apparently Chris is the only remaining founding member of the band since they booted their bass player last year, but they had a very significant shift in quality since Zach joined which is pretty cool.

sspedding
May 16th 2024


5701 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is good. Paradigm Trigger is a banger

bellovddd
May 16th 2024


6594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

nice rev. album is pretty damn solid

artificialbox
May 17th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thank you brother bellovd

outliers
May 17th 2024


5097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice write up man, had the same thought about how Chris and Phisney do an excellent job at complimenting one another.



I do disagree with this paragraph a bit though “their discography has seen very little wavering in style over the years….their latest effort also comes with very little in the way of surprise.”….i would argue pure like porcelain was a significant style deviation that was then carried over to this album to a degree. the fact that they were able to break their risecore mold with tracks like angels weep and paradigm trigger was certainly surprising imo

artificialbox
May 17th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thanks bud, thats a fair argument! I agree they have done a lot to change up some of the finer details of their sound, and defs have a few tracks that stand out as breaking the mold, but I think I was referring more to their general identity as a chug chug heavy breakdown catchy chorus type of band that hasnt changed much since their first album (with the exception of dark divine to an extent). it’s possible I generalized their style a bit too much though.

sspedding
May 17th 2024


5701 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I also agree they seem to have been moving in the right direction for a while, albeit slowly. Habitual Decline has a similar sound and that also is a cracka

artificialbox
May 17th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Totally. I know when Angels Weep and Paradigm Trigger dropped I really thought they were making a big move in a different direction, especially following the two standalone singles they dropped in 2023, but then the rest of the album dropped and it was like nvm… they are more or less continuing the same thing they did on NEIG and PLP (which is not a bad thing cause I love both of those releases a lot)

onionbubs
May 17th 2024


21547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

yeah i hope the next one is just all in the mold of the first two songs

artificialbox
May 17th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I would love that.

artificialbox
May 17th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

well, my vinyl just arrived and I can confirm it comes with a secret track at the end. its a really good track too haha this is so sick.

Feather
May 17th 2024


10296 Comments


Listened to some of this and unsurprisingly found that it sounds like 2010 metalcore. Some of it felt like it would be right at home of The Word Alive's Deceiver album lol

EDIT: I have never listened to this band before and after commenting this checked the bands page to find that the second band listed for similar artists is in fact TWA hahaha

outliers
May 17th 2024


5097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if you think this sounds like 2010 metalcore, check out Dark Divine lol

Feather
May 17th 2024


10296 Comments


I don't know if I want more 2010 metalcore though

vult
May 18th 2024


2400 Comments


Feather I definitely hear some of the Deceiver elements that you might be referring to! I haven’t listened to this band in AGES but this is dec enough

Feather
May 18th 2024


10296 Comments


I am gunna listen in full today, but thank you vult for confirming I am not completely off-base.



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