Bone Palace Ballet

Written by: PP on 12/11/2007 01:37:14

For only having released one album before their sophomore effort "Bone Palace Ballet", Chiodos are strangely big in the United States. Their debut album "All's Well That Ends Well" sold over 170,000 copies, and this September, "Bone Palace Ballet" debuted at #5 at the BillBoard top 200, an impressive achievement considering their genre: emo/screamo. Part of this of course has to do with the Myspace phenomenon, but most of the success can be credited for real quality, because "All's Well.." featured some of the catchiest screamo songs written to date - you could almost call the band the Panic! At The Disco of the screamo genre.

"Bone Palace Ballet" sees the band mature - significantly. Aside from the characteristic voice of singer Owens, I'd be hard pressed to say it's the same band, because the quality of the instrumental arrangements has skyrocketed from the simple quiet/loud/breakdown dynamics which were the ammunition of their debut album. You can sense it straight away from the opening piano's and smooth vocals of opening track "Is It Progression If A Cannibal uses A Fork?" - it's almost as if you're listening to an emo version of Muse. The bouncy piano ballad "Lexington" has the same effect - everything is grander, more theatric and sounds like it was written by a band with years upon years of experience in writing songs.

The same vibe is repeated on pretty much every song on the record. From the spacey sound of "A Letter From Janelle" to the slight punkiness of "I Didn't Say I Was Powerful, I Said I Was A Wizard", all songs sound colossal. There are even passages which you could call symphonic given the string instruments used to supplement their sound (see "Teeth The Size Of Piano Keys" for an example). Owens' range as a vocalist has increased and instead of having to resort to screaming all the time, he is now able to use his clean vocals in a much more versatile way, ranging from quiet whispers to lengthy croons and plenty of whiny parts.

Okay, so the songs sound like they were made for a Broadway production. Upon the first three listens, that's why every song sounds interesting, because Chiodos has expanded their sound to pretty much every direction, but especially towards the sky. However, a few listens later, you'll realize that the songs that sounded good begin to sound less interesting.. and less interesting.. and less interesting.. until the point comes where you would rather put on anything else than another Chiodos song. It's as if the band tried to amplify everything, and in the process forgot how to write songs that scream passion, songs that you'll remember, songs that you'll connect with, like many on their debut album. "The Undertaker's Thirst For Revenge Is Unquenchable" is pretty much the only track where the band lets their aggression lose - and elements of the old Chiodos are scattered everywhere. Why didn't the band write more tracks with screaming as intense as on this one?

I've always held that whenever a band expands their sound into the Panic! At The Disco territory (referring to the theatric production style), they are making a mistake. We've seen it previously with The Used, Funeral For A Friend, and AFI among others, and in every case the end result has been mediocre. All these albums made you think "wow this is great" in the start, but because of overproduction, it felt like their music had no soul, no passion. Because lets be honest here, how many of us have listened to the latest The Used record since the first few weeks that we received it? I know I haven't. As sad as it is, that's the fate of "Bone Palace Ballet" as well - come Christmas and you'll have forgotten about this album.


Download: The Undertaker's Thirst For Revenge Is Unquenchable, Is It Progression If A Cannibal Uses A Fork?
For the fans of: The Used, Panic! At The Disco, Muse
Listen: Myspace

Release date 04.09.2007
Equal Vision

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