Tides Of Virtue


Written by: PP on 05/10/2010 03:47:09

Metalcore may be going out of fashion due to identikit bands overflooding the scene with generic saturation, but every now and then you come across a band who play the genre faithfully and honestly to the best of their abilities, feel a breath of fresh air pass by you, and willingly forgive them for sacrificing all originality in order to play exactly the kind of music they are into. Meet Essex, UK based Tides Of Virtue, whose latest album "Malevolence" has just that effect on this scribe, despite including nothing new under the sun in their expression.

The premise is as follows: All That Remains once wrote a genre classic called "The Fall Of Ideals", and an excellent British band called Anterior adapted it into their own interpretation on "This Age Of Silence". Take these two albums, and inject some deathcore-esque sections, and you basically have "Malevolence". It's an album abundant with back-chilling twin-guitar harmonies paying their respects towards the Gothenburg scene, played tightly and with technical prowess. It's clear that the composers have a very good idea of what sounds awesome to the ear of a traditional metalcore fan from about five years ago or so, before things got awfully mechanical, back when melody was key in success instead of how many breakdowns you can include in any given 60 seconds of music. So you can expect lengthy sections where the band's two guitarists trade busy melody lines with each other, dueling away whilst the drums and the vocals are moved to a supporting role in order for the guitars to flourish. The instrumental interlude "Felo De Se" in particular displays a great sense for sublime and slick twin-guitar harmony that maximizes melody potential. There's a whole lot of going on at any given moment, though never to the extent that it feels like a technical metalcore album like Protest The Hero or something. It's very typical metalcore all the way through, but it's so well executed and the melodies are solid enough for the listener not to care very much about that.

That said, I'm not quite ready to award Tides Of Virtue super high marks just yet, and the reason for that lies within those (awful) deathcore sections. Because for every slick guitar passage, the band feels it necessary to string two such parts together with overtly simple, repetitive single-chord sections, as if they didn't quite yet have the ability or the know-how of how to fill the gaps between the otherwise excellent melody hooks. These are usually coupled with vocals that need some serious work before they'll impress me, as they lack thickness and strength to sound powerful enough. The shrieking vocalist who typically resides over the metalcore leads is much better, however, and it's good that he's used frequently enough to counter the As I Lay Dying-esque roar that fails to impress me. It could be the same dude actually, but in that case he clearly doesn't know his strengths.

So basically what I'm getting at here is that Tides Of Virtue are still in their infancy when it comes to composition. They have some very good ideas that are delivered with confidence and rigour, but they need to study "The Fall Of Ideals" and other similar albums a little more to understand what makes these albums so fantastic and "Malevolence" merely good. If they're able to rid the dumbed-down sections and replace them with meaningful bridges between the occasionally fantastic lead guitar work, we'll have a very good album in our hands. This is a good start and I'm looking forward to hearing some more from these guys in the future.


Download: Destruction Of The Fortress, Emperors
For the fans of: All That Remains, Anterior, As I Lay Dying
Listen: Myspace

Release date 31.05.2010
Transcend Records

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