This Or The Apocalypse


Written by: AP on 25/11/2008 18:26:45

Lancaster, Pennysylvania. Until three years ago, a nameless enclave in smalltown America, but today a beacon of hope for the withering metalcore scene. It is the home of August Burns Red, and it's where Lifeforce Records wisely sent their bloodhounds to sniff around last year, bringing home with them a band with promise; an ambitious five-piece that observed from the sideline as one band after the other flopped, took notes and pieced together a formula for survival in a merciless genre where few bands live to see a record deal. It's this formula that spells out the band's name; their solution to a dying market. It's This Or The Apocalypse.

"Monuments" opens with the capricious "No Horizons", which initially sounds a bit too forced to make a lasting impression. It's as if the band have some compelling need to build their music around outrageous time signatures without giving the overall package much thought. Gradually, however, the song becomes more complex, introducing the melancholic climate that drives the album. Despite the obvious - but acknowledged, it should be said - debt to Meshuggah and Misery Signals for the absurd rhythm section and the melodic ambience respectively, it's clear by the end of the title track that while their peers chug away at endless breakdowns without direction, these boys are onto something. Unfortunately that potential isn't fully unleashed until the adventurous finale, beginning with the colossal "Architeuthis" where the respective members' musical know-how converge in a stunning feat of experimental song-writing. "The Polymath" follows suite leaving the listener aghast at the sheer power and emotion packed beneath its delicate crust of entrancing melody. Crossfade into a calm before the storm, the celestial "Memento Mori" then marks the beginning to a crescendo that's both devastating and beautiful, bringing the album to its end with "Mauna Kea", and album closer "Elegiac", its two-minute climax so flawless, so emotional, so majestic that it puts even the mighty "White Walls" to shame.

On the surface "Monuments" bears the emblems of a generic metalcore act, but under the pretty boy breakdown image is one of today's most talented young metal bands. "Monuments" is the self-proclaimed thinking man's mosh; a challenging work of experimental metalcore that weds the mathematic precision of Meshuggah to the raw, emotive urgency of Misery Signals to create some of the darkest, most emotional songs this scribe has heard to date. Distancing themselves from what is expected of them, and breaking the conventional approach to writing songs, This Or The Apocalypse may just be the needed nudge for the genre, and while it isn't entirely without flaws, it's pretty damn close, and instantly one of the albums of the year.

Download: Architeuthis, Elegiac, The Polymath

For the fans of: August Burns Red, Misery Signals

Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.10.2008


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