The Color Morale

We All Have Demons

Written by: BL on 13/01/2010 15:47:56

Now that I have some time to review on my hands, I should start catching up with all the reviews I've put to one side for academic reasons. The first on the bill is a five piece post-hardcore band from Rockford, Illinois, USA called The Color Morale. A debut album on Rise Records and recorded with none other than Joey Sturgis should not be enough for heads to turn away if I just ruined your appetite, as the band offers a listening experience devoid of cheesy dance electronica or a breakdown inserted after every note like a lot of their current peers, in case you were worried. That isn't to say that we're boldly going where no band in the genre has gone before either however.

If I were to describe you the sound that emanates from this quintet, it'd be a very familiar sounding story. Flowing, organic songs containing soaring ambient melodies, crushing low rhythms with a mix of vicious growls and bright clean vocals. Indeed, The Color Morale are so entrenched in the template of Misery Signals, UnderOATH, or even Beloved that initially if you are familiar with the aforementioned bands you'd be struggling to find much uniqueness to spare. What the band do even if not original they do well though and convincing. The initially distant, ringing guitar melodies always surface themselves fully at just the right moment, to pierce the soundscape like a knife driving through flesh. The harder hitting low guitar are a little less calculated (but not entirely) than other bands where there's emphasis completely on either chugging you to death or harmonising half baked melodic death metal riffs (or both). Here they have this slightly more natural, more open approach. Sure there's still the odd breakdown here and there, but they take care not to let it break the flow of the songs all too much either. It also helps that there's a good balance between the heavy sections and the more mesmerising melodic sections (the intro of closer "I, The Jury" or throughout the excellent "When One Was Desolate" for example).

A highlight from me personally comes from Garret Rapp's vocal work laid out across the ten tracks. Much like the instrumentals, he likes to alter his style just based on the moment in the song, complementing the heavy and softer parts appropriately. He has a mean, and I mean really mean, powerful growl that reminds me a lot of Karl from Misery Signals in deepness. While missing a higher pitched scream is rather disappointing since they would have definitely added to the music, every time I hear the rumble of his demonic low voice I just get ever more surprised when he suddenly turns you on your head with his singing. He won't be the best singer you've ever heard, but he has certainly has enough voice to carry the sections where he chooses to bring them out and rather nicely steps out of the mould of your usual whiny super high pitched voice. Of course the whole sing/scream combo has been done to death, and if you only like one or the other you might be left in the cold since here they're mixed together so much.

The album certainly has a sheen, like a glossy cover on top of everything (thanks to the razor sharp production) which both brings out the fluid textures but at the same time gives too much of an artificial taste. Most of the songs sound quite different to each other in their construction, yet also sound very similar too because it is impossible to escape the influences that one can instantly pick up from hearing them. Personally I would still recommend this album whole heartedly to any fan of post-hardcore or metalcore yet I also think there's much these guys can do to seperate themselves a little more from the pack. For now there's still a long road for these guys to walk until they put out something of a more masterful nature, but this is at least a good start.

Download: "When One Was Desolate", "Humannequin", "A Sponge In The Ocean", "I, The Jury"
For the fans of: Misery Signals, Beloved, Emarosa, Of Machines, UnderOATH
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.09.2009
Rise Records

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