Syndicated from Asterisked Music.
Assessment: 9.2 out of 10.
Bottom line up front: It’s rare to see an unsigned band with such a polished sound. Some of their songs are a little reminiscent of Hoobastank. Others sound kind of like a more hard-core version of Creed/Alterbridge. They’ve found a very pleasing blend of melodic metal that rides the border between hard rock and metalcore. With soaring vocals and aggressive riffs, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser at any metal concert. They would not be at all out of place opening for any number of great bands (they are a great band in their own right; they’re just not that well known, yet). I could see them as the opening act for Papa Roach, Disturbed, Sevendust, Nickleback, Skillet, or any other mainline hard rock or metal group — they have an edge, but they are not so far out on the edge as to be inaccessible to the average metal listener. They are on the far boundary of what might be considered «radio friendly.»
Criticisms: While they have very catchy, very cohesive, and very technically inclusive songs, with plenty of solo areas for each band member to shine, this band would do well to branch out a little, harmonically and rhythmically. This is not a major criticism — their relatively conventional harmonic and rhythmic language will not prevent them from enjoying quite a bit of success — in fact, too much adventurism in harmony and rhythm can, potentially, prevent a band’s success if they experiment too much early on. Their songs are perfect for a first release. Just interesting enough to grab the attention of the listener, without demanding too much attention to follow. I would encourage this band to run with they’ve got for now, which is excellent material, in terms of listenability, marketability, and overall musical professionalism. For their next effort, however, they would do well to try to branch out a little bit.
Highlights: My favorite song on this album has got to be Second Chances, which is a Killswitch Engagesque metalcore anthem that gets the album off to a great start. I’m also quite partial to Embrace Your Crown, and Darker Shade of Life, which are a couple of delightfully edgy songs. Never Healing is a great tune, which sounds a lot like some of Alterbridge’s better songs — it’s comfortingly intense. (Don’t know what I mean by that? Well, you’ll just have to check it out for yourself, then.) Break Out and Flip My Switch remind me of Nickleback, a little bit — in a good way. Hold Me Down and Not Yours for the Taking are songs that Five Finger Death Punch would be proud of (and these guys should definitely be proud of them). Overall, their vocalist is amazing, and their lead guitarist is more than decent. They don’t let the rhythm, bass or drums out to play as much as they could, but when they do, they definitely show potential.
Conclusion: So long as these guys stay on the road and keep these songs in the ears of metal fans, I foresee nothing but success for these guys. They have a very polished, confident sound, that delivers the kind of punch that metalheads are looking for. They could afford to branch out a little rhythmically and harmonically, but they have their whole lives before them to experiment. The important thing now is that they have all of the elements to be successful, and I think that they will be.