I just wanna start this post off with a disclaimer. So, DISCLAIMER: I am in no way qualified to critique anything (especially music, since I can’t sing and have no talents with any instruments…yet *insert evil grin here*). But I thought that one of the uses for my blog could be for me to share my thoughts on the latest music, books, and films I’ve experienced. But I just wanted everyone to know that these are light-hearted opinions that I’m sharing just for the sake of sharing. I don’t want anyone to take my responses as law or get all up in a huff if they disagree with what I think. I do realize that I’m not qualified to really critique anything (but really, what makes a person qualified; interesting topic there) but I thought I’d share my thoughts anyway. END OF DISCLAIMER.
So, for my first CD review, I chose to do a new release from a band that I really enjoy listening to, yet after hearing the album, was left in a mixture of surprise, giddiness, and slight (a lot of emphasis on the slight) disappointment. Abandon All Ships (pictured above), an electro-screamo (some also label them as deathcore) quintet hailing from Toronto, released their second album on July 3rd, entitled Infamous. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked when they announced they were coming out with a new album, so I was anticipating this release. Before they album came out, they released the song “Infamous”, which I really loved. I definitely kept it on repeat for at least a week. I felt like the balance between Martin Broda’s smooth vocals and Angelo Aita’s unclean vocals was right on, whereas in some other songs I feel like Aita is almost overbearing. I also liked the guest vocals from A-Game on “Infamous”. I thought it fit in perfectly and added another element to the song that I didn’t expect. So, my expectations for the rest of the album rose.
Then, ’bout a week before the album came out, I read a review online from Alternative Press by Phil Freeman (can be found here: http://www.altpress.com/reviews/entry/abandon_all_ships_infamous/; much shorter than mine, prolly much more qualified, and I really dig his writing style — check it out!) that boosted my excitement, because it was a positive review. Then, July 3rd finally hit (also marking the release date for the latest from The Word Alive and Wolves at the Gate, both reviews soon to come) and I got the album.
My overall first impression was slight disappointment. I didn’t feel like it was on the same level as the pre-released song “Infamous”, which I fell in love with instantly. I felt like there was something off with the screams coming from Aita. But after giving the songs a second listen through (the album is only comprised of ten songs and barely thirty minutes total in length), the songs began to grow on me. I really like the breakdowns in some of the songs, but I definitely am in love with the dance-y, techno-y feel consistent throughout the album. I do feel like Aita could give a better performance, though on “Infamous” and “Good Old Friends”, I think his vocals are strong. I love that they included a slower song, as well, i.e., “August”. Broda’s voice was so smooth and clean, I just loved it. I think Broda was really consistant throughout. I really have fallen in love with his sound. He’s obviously confident with his voice and I really dig it. I think it is a great contrasting sound to Aita’s throaty growls and screams, yet both compliment each other perfectly.
This album was made to be jammed to; blasted from your stereo until your car shakes or blaring from your headphones while you dance like a crazy person. The song “Forever Lonely”, despite the suggestive slow song title, is definitely one I could see them opening up a concert with. It is threatening to take over as my favorite song from the album. I also couldn’t stop moving during “Less than Love” and “Faded” (and, of course, “Infamous”). Also, in “Faded”, though Aita grunts the words more than completely screams them out, I love how they mess with his voice and create breakdowns through him, then bring Broda’s clean vocals for the chorus. Great contrast, brilliantly crafted.
I think the thing that disappointed me was the fact that I didn’t feel that they were strong lyrically, something that I always look for in a band. I’m not saying that every song needs to be able to tell a story so intricate that you get lost in it, but man, do I just love a band who is able to write something that is not only musically captivating but lyrically inspiring. Despite the urge to headbang and dance throughout the whole album, I wouldn’t rank Abandon All Ships as a band that is lyrically inspiring, based off this album; at least, not compared to other albums that just came out that I’ve been jamming to. (Check out “Roger Rabbit” from Sleeping with Sirens or “Life Cycles” from The Word Alive for that.) “Brothers for Life” felt like a song left on repeat and by the end, I felt like I needed to say, “Yeah guys, you’re brothers for life, we get it.” And compared to some of their songs off Geeving, their debut album, e.g., “Family Goretrait”, “Take One Last Breath”, or “Heaven”, I feel like the boys from Toronto slacked slightly lyrically. (Although, I did really like “Forever Lonely” lyrically. That song is just all-around sick.) To quote Freeman’s review, he stated that the album weren’t songs, but “a collection of moments.” Thinking of it that way, perhaps the brothers of Abandon All Ships purposely wrote the songs the way they did. I dunno what their motives were, only that the band claimed the songs are “very Toronto”. And since I’m not from Toronto, perhaps their songs are written that way. Who knows.
But, to counter they lyrically slacking statement, I still found myself drawn to the music and wanting to listen to the songs. And, this album DEFINITELY increased my desire to see Abandon All Ships live. I can tell they are really into their music and obviously want to put on a good show. which is huge with any band being good live. And I have no doubt that their show would be SICK. Just an amazingly awesome dance party. With luck, I’ll get to see them in August. I’ll let you guys know how they do. 😉
So, overall, I am pretty happy with this album and glad I got it. I love the feel of it, Broda is flawless, and the mixture of clean and unclean vocals is pretty solid. Although I wish it would’ve been stronger lyrically, I can’t complain. This is definitely an album I would recommend and one I will blaring for months. I’d give it 3.7 outta 5.
“Turn me up when you’re feeling low. Stuck on repeat, I’ll never go. When you feel alone, put in your headphones!” — Lyrics from “Forever Lonely”