The Sorrow

The Sorrow

Written by: BL on 21/12/2010 15:42:02

Listening to The Sorrow is like hearing the sort of band I would have loved maybe five years ago, notably because on every past record they've sounded incredibly close to a few older metalcore bands - the main one being Killswitch Engage. But having gotten away with sounding like a glorious clone and also playing a style that is getting out of date compared to the scene-dominated stuff in the US twice, will they score a lucky third doing the same as before or actually manage to pull off something a little more unexpected. When bands do self-titled albums, they tend to try and reinvent themselves or at least aim to bring out something truly spectacular, Killswitch tried to do it (somewhat well) - and what a surprise, now The Sorrow are trying to do it as well. Now I'm not saying The Sorrow set out to do what Killswitch have done already every time, but even if they did, they've always at least managed to do a pretty decent job of it up until and now. "Blessings From A Blackened Sky" and "Origin Of The Storm" were both solid albums more or less, even though they were pretty generic by then standards (and sporting those corny predictable names).

So what of "The Sorrow" then? Well I'm a little afraid to say that, it's still pretty much a Killswitch Engage sound-a-like, just throw in some of that newer Caliban sound as usual for good measure too. Shall I lay it out in detail again? Expect duelling melodic death metal/metalcore guitars, some heavy chugging verses, just a few breakdowns (not quite the overdone super obnoxious modern kind but the older more simplistic kind), double bass pedals, screaming and singing exchanges and big, big choruses. I consider "Alive Or Just Breathing" and "The End Of Heartache" as two of the best albums the classic metalcore genre has ever seen (both by Killswitch), and while it is that fact alone that probably ensures I can get the most from "The Sorrow", even I now am thinking that this band should probably try a few new things once in a while. Sure enough it's the same decent The Sorrow formula being employed time and time again (not sure if it can be called 'their' formula), but hearing the same sort of thing for thirteen songs totalling at over an hour of playtime (again I would have loved this five years ago) just seems too much for me, and that is a shame because there are a few really decent tracks on here.

"Crossing Jordon" comes early as the second track (the first is a bit of throwaway) and is probably the best track on the whole album. Catchy and seriously blistering guitar riffs and drumming, an interesting combination of some powerful and emotive (but not whiny) clean vocals with the heavier screaming, and a rather gripping atmosphere make it a standout. In fact initially one would get the impression that, if the rest of the album had been this good or exciting, we'd be telling a different story. Following song "Weight Of The World" is not quite as impressive though, but not entirely that bad either - a mostly average song with the odd catchy guitar riff here and there. "Heart Of A Lion" and "Farewells" are probably as 'Killswitch Engage' as they come (specifically from the "As Daylight Dies" era), and sort of sums up the mid-section of the album, where it's hard to really take notice of all that much. "Draped In Misery" late on has some noteworthy use of more haunting clean guitars and vocal melodies that have an emphasis on subtlety. "Engraved In Our Hearts" has a more melodic death metal feel to it, has no clean vocals, and sounds a bit more distinct because of it. Closer "Reaching For The Skies" is the final highlight - a surprisingly poppy yet fantastic chorus to end on.

The Sorrow don't particularly deserve any worse criticism than that which has already laid out here. I stand by the fact that from a personal opinion, their sound is seriously getting weary and a bit predictable even comparing to their own discography. And while having really good songs of this style ensures somebody like me will get a good spin or so out of the album - it's getting harder to rake in the equivalent crowd that I was in when growing up listening to metalcore. Still, The Sorrow are a decent band with good songs worth checking out if you like older sounding metalcore. And in the sea of current uninspiring younger genericore, can they stay relevant in the years to come? I just kind of hope so, if only just to show how different things have become.

Download: Crossing Jordon, Engraved In Our Hearts, Reaching For The Skies
For the fans of: Killswitch Engage, Caliban, Machinemade God
Listen: Myspace

07.12.2010
Drakkar Records

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