This Or The Apocalypse - Monuments
Here approacheth another in a continuing series of reviews concerning Lifeforce Records and some of their roster's '08 output. It's always a good thing to become acquainted with labels, especially those within your favorite genres; it's the easiest way to continually find albums you'll be interested in hearing. Unfortunately, most of these Lifeforce efforts I've been hearing have fallen a bit flat. Not really awful, but no more than middle-of-the-pack stuff. This Or The Apocalypse is one of the younger bands onboard, and Monuments is their sophomore showing.
The band, one of the modern hardcore/metalcore sound, is heavily dependant on the quick-fingered rambling of Jack Esbenshade and Rodney Phillips. Over the album's 45 minutes or so we're hearing the youthful passion most great metal needs, but channeled through formula and procedure, which dulls the impact. You're gonna notice right from the opening riffs of "No Horizons", that this band fits in the niche of "whatever"-core that's been a dominant scene for awhile now. The vocals are standard fare, but Rick Armellino certainly fits the mold of a hardcore vocalist, despite some shortcomings in the screaming department. Lyrics aren't half-bad, mostly dealing with social and political themes of discontent and disatisfaction; also as typical as the songs end up being. I will say the off-timed rolling rhythms of "Archteuthis" caught my ear (for a minute), as did the melodic intro to "The Polymath" and the ballsy effort at a soft interlude on"Memento Mori". The 2nd half of this album is definitely more adventurous, with slightly better results.
I hate to sell any band short, because I know as well as anyone that it takes commitment, effort and most of all a love for the sound to even attempt to make it your own. This Or The Apocalypse have a technical edge that could be sharpened into a far more devistating album in the future; of that I have little doubt. But to my ears they're trying too hard make a round peg fit into a square hole on Monuments. At times they branch out, but too far between for me to recommend this one.
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