This Or The Apocalypse

Haunt What's Left

Written by: BL on 04/08/2010 03:47:22

Two years ago This Or The Apocalypse announced their arrival on the metalcore scene with their ambitous, daring and scorching debut album "Monuments" which we covered with glowing praise. The album was technical, fast, and it was melodic, taking the formula that made August Burns Red and Misery Signals such a hit and kicking it into pure overdrive. Some of the edges were a little rough and certain areas could have used a bit more polish, but we had every hope that given time the band would iron those kinks out in their song writing and as such the followup album "Haunt What's Left" was greeted by some high expectations.

As far as comparisons to their past work goes, everything about "Haunt What's Left" is still quite high octane and technical. Guitar work from duo Jack Esbenshade and Rodney Phillips remains as impressive as ever while gaining more overall maturity in their approach of mixing aggressive attacking guitar riffs with duelling melodic sections that will simply leave you in a spin as you struggle to keep up to pace. Just take a listen to the intro of "Subverse" or the excellent melodic track "Lamnidae" and you quickly get an idea of what I mean. As expected there are still plenty of breakdowns for better or worse, not quite the same frequency that hometown peers August Burns Red might resort to, but still similar both in their time signature jumping approach and general sound, though often disguised more cleverly by interspersing other guitar parts around or on top to good success. Whatever the guitars are doing though, Grant McFarland's drum work is still able to provide a solid foundation for the rhythm section, and complement proceedings very nicely.

Songs like "Subverse", "Backlit" and "Hayseed" mark the beginning of a new type of experimentation for the band, but certainly not for anyone who listens to their fair share of melodic metalcore, the inclusion of clean vocal choruses. Before you start thinking the worst, note that they're not exactly the pretty, sparkly, and poppy clean vocals that is such a staple to so many other bands. They have a rougher sound that more or less retains the aggression in the music that easily gets lost when you have clean vocals that are too clean, and manage not to sound too out of place once you get over the fact that they're even there in the first place. More good news in that Rick Armellino's screams and general vocal execution are quite improved, while still having a raw emotive edge when called upon, like in one fantastic part in the otherwise hard hitting "Deadringer".

"Haunt What's Left" is an excellent metalcore release that is a showcase of the genre at it's best, while still managing to find it's way past all the staple names that are perhaps more well known. It's also everything we've come to expect from this talented quintet. However on the same token, this album doesn't make huge strides over their debut such that it is as striking a release as "Monuments" was. It does have more cohesive song structures and instrumentals, an obvious sign of improvement, but also loses a bit of its raw magic and so doesn't quite captivate on the same level for me to warrant any more than a still very respectable and strong


Download: Subverse, Lamnidae, Hayseed
For the fans of: August Burns Red, Texas In July, Within The Ruins
Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.07.2010
Lifeforce Records

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