I was really anticipating this release from the pre-prod videos they had released. Well... I guess I was anticipating they would do a bit more with it composition-wise.
The album as a whole:
I really like it, mostly. It's in a different realm than Rareform or FOAFS. However, I take it that they were 'in rareform' when they wrote that album because it showed off some excellent songwriting ability and distinctness that they could bring to the table. However, with this release, that is almost completely gone in favor of a slightly more generic songwriting approach, still with their attitude as a band. The production is far beyond their first release, FOAFS, and differs pleasantly from Rareform enough to make it refreshing. In a way though, it remains to be seen if this is their cue to try and hop into the 'djent' bandwagon (which I see as being already far too overloaded before it began) or if it's some kind of transitional period as they grow with their new front man (and introduction of clean singing, which, for the record, I do enjoy when used well.) The solo work as always, is excellent throughout, though there is much less of the crazy melodic-oriented song passages ATB fans have come to know and love.
The first track kicks off to a great start but reveals some of the awkward song transitions later to come throughout the album... Your Troubles is one of the better examples of their ability to write in a way that gets you hooked and in the moment, especially live. Pendulum is different, because it's the first of several that introduces clean singing to their repertoire. I really, really love how it's used in this track... but... it sounds absolutely more and more terrible as the album goes on, especially in track 7 of 8, Promises Kept. Although, almost as anticipation of the barrage of angry flailing, they redeem themselves with the closer Encased In Ice. Encased is a great song with a cool groove and speaks more to the ...modern? anthem-loving metal-head of yore. Bread Crumbs and Sleeper hearken back more to the FOAFS days of spasmodic thrashing glory, pleasantly, with a bit more of the flavor that After The Burial has followed for this record. However, To Carry You Away seems to be the only direct artifact reminiscent of the Rareform days, both melody and songwriting wise. Though, again, the questionably awkward singing in the background. I guess it's forgivable, personally, since it's a captivating song.
In all, it's short, but worth the buy. The CD itself has excellent material and a nice insert!