Sent By Ravens

Mean What You Say

Written by: TL on 01/04/2012 12:30:19

A good tip I'd give any curious music fan with a constant hunger for new stuff, is to find out which labels tend to sign bands that you like, and then keep an eye on new releases from that label. Me personally, I like to keep track of what comes out on Equal Vision and Tooth And Nail, both of which have pushed several bands I've liked over the years. Tooth And Nail for instance, have or have had good artists like Emery, Underoath, Dead Poetic, Copeland, As Cities Burn and mewithoutYou, and currently they seem to be in the process of fortifying their position in the genre of hard-edged yet accessible modern rock, with interesting up-and-coming's such as I Am Empire and Sent By Ravens.

And South Carolina quintet Sent By Ravens are in fact the subject of this article, as is their new sophomore album "Mean What You Say", which should come as a breath of fresh air to anyone who's felt that modern hardrock has been populated more with hasbeens or pretenders in recent years, than with actual quality acts. On it, crunchy pseudo-heavy riffs give way to soaring melodies, through mostly mid-tempo rockers arranged to sound equally well in your radio and from the stage at your local arena-venue. Sounds cold and calculated? Well, it might be to some extent, but "Mean What You Say" has the unmistakable sound of conviction at its heart, and it makes the pathos in the voice of singer Zach Riner - who wields an almost painfully typical American alternative rock voice with expert precision - sound just honest enough to guide you through the songs without loss of credibility. On the way you'll be treated to a slew of easily recognisable moments that have solid punches for most rock fans, whether you're into more recent post-hardcore tinged contemporaries like Conditions or long time big-rock institutions like 30 Seconds To Mars or Linkin Park.

For a standout track, be sure to check out number 7, "Need It Today", which perfectly showcases the varied nuances of the band's sound, trading a mellow first verse for a galloping second one and culminating in a super catchy chorus that has both heavy weight in the bottom, soaring melody at the top and vocal hook in which Riner stretches his croon to the limit. Similarly, slow-burning anthem "We're All Liars" and title track "Mean What You Say" are also recommendable starting points, should you want to sample material from this album, as they are also among the most memorable cuts on offer.

Ultimately however, it is only fitting to remark that despite the album's brilliant production and effective songwriting, the whole sound and expression does not exactly push the envelope of any genre in particular. Most of what's on here, you'll have heard done similarly by bands like the ones I reference, and although it's a potent and elegant manifestation of hard-rock's various currents come together, the record does not have as strong a personality as British contemporaries Young Guns for instance, and I have the feeling it's going to hurt its overall potential for memorability and longevity. If you've been starved for decent, believable hard rock in recent years however, you shouldn't let any of that deter you though, because "Mean What You Say" is certainly as good a record of that as I've heard for quite some time.

Download: Need It Today, We're All Liars, Mean What You Say, Listen
For The Fans Of: Conditions, 30 Seconds To Mars, Linkin Park, Anberlin, Young Guns, I Am Empire

Release Date 28.02.2012
Tooth & Nail

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