A Sacrament; Ill City

Written by: TL on 23/03/2009 23:24:05

Given just how positively surprised I was by Adept's debut album despite having no small expectations for it, I figured that I had to check up on the status of other Swedish screamo acquaintances too, just to make sure that I wasn't missing out on further goodies. It turns out that's exactly what I have been doing though, because herbrightskies' debut album "A Sacrament; Ill City" was about 9 months older than its release date when I got my hands on it. However, for the sake of fairness and because the album has turned out to be quite good, you'll get a review of it anyway.

In many ways, herbrightskies align audibly with their fellow Swedes in Adept and Intohimo, except for the fact that they place a slight bit more emphasis on parts with clean vocals. Fear not though, there are still more than enough desperate screaming to warrant a 'screamo' tag, and while the throat work isn't quite as hysterical and insane as that of Adept, it still maintains that feeling you get that the Swedes just know their stuff when it comes to screams. In terms of mood, HBS are more similar to Intohimo than to Adept, in that they employ a slightly more melancholic and bleak soundscape while remaining totally believable, even if they do sound a bit young. Think "Chasing Safety"-era UnderOATH and you're close.

The band do a lot of things well on this debut album of theirs, in my opinion mainly by staying with screamo and post-hardcore and avoiding crossing into the territories of metal or classic hardcore, effectively minimizing the amount of horror chorded breakdowns to a single forgivable one in "Some Live Their Lives". As for highlights, songs like "Burn All The Small Towns" and "Come Serenity" have some pretty easily memorable choruses and in general there are a lot of curious cases of the vocals sliding to lower notes rather than higher ones spread throughout the album, which is all the better for it. Closing track "I Love The Bomb" also features more than one exhilarating refrain and is another point of strength for the album.

As for weaknesses, explaining them is ironically at its easiest when speaking of the opening track "The Glorious", which is actually another one of the album's strong songs. The gentle piano intro and following thunderous entry of guitars and screams is excellently composed with heartbeat drums in the background and a promise of great things to come after. The problem is that even while many of the following songs are as enjoyable as I've made them out to be, none of them really deliver on the promise of epicness that is carried by the opener, which in itself is cut way too short to really utilize the momentum it establishes. It is this feeling of unfulfillment that wears down on the shoulders of this record, even while you're enjoying it the most, and there's not really much else to say about it, than that we must hope for the band to grow into the strength it takes to really drive their punches home on their next record. If that happens I'm sure we'll have something great on our hands.


Download: Burn All The Small Towns, Come Serenity, I Love The Bomb, Black Lungs And Dollar Signs
For The Fans Of: Intohimo, Burden Of A Day, akissforjersey, LoveHateHero
Listen: myspace.com/herbrightskies

Release Date: 31.05.2008
District 19

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