Reviewed by Tony Cummings
This, of course, is the big, breakthrough-to-the-mainstream album for the Florida hardcore band who've been around since 1999. It's also, in the words of Kerrang! magazine, "An exceptional record, one that will appeal to, and challenge, rock fans all over the spectrum." That spectrum is of course likely to include as many non-Christians as Christians and all power to the guys for delivering such an impressively versatile project where metal riffs and emo breakdowns, screamo noise and memorable hooks collide in a veritable sonic feast. Vocalist Spencer Chamberlain has a stunning repertoire of guttural growls, smooth emoting and nerve-jangling screams, while the rhythm section spearheaded by the dazzling drum work of Aaron Gillespie is magnificent. Equally impressive is Tim McTague and James Smith's guitar work, given a new dimension thanks to the liberal use of E-bows. Producers Matt Goldman (Third Day, Anberlin) and Adam Dutkiewicz (The Agony Scene, Unearth) have expanded the band's sound though there are tracks here brutal enough to keep the most manic mosher happy. For instance, the opener "In Regards To Myself" is positively ferocious. At the other extreme the use of a violin section on a couple of cuts is brilliantly executed. "Writing On The Walls" with its hooky chorus and its haunting close of layered vocals sounds like a radio hit while the arrangement of "Casting Such A Thin Shadow" is downright daring, there being three minutes and 50 seconds of super tight playing before Spencer makes his vocal entrance. I'm no hard music specialist, but I doubt whether there'll be a better hard album released this year.
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