Monarchs of a Fallen Society is the second album from this Baltimore-based band, and while I haven't heard their debut Aurora, this CD is enough to make me track down a copy and check it out. The story from their bio goes that the two original members met in "some typical band" but kept moving around until they found exactly the right people to play with, and they've since shared the stage with the likes of 3 Doors Down, Saliva, CKY, and Cold. This all leads to a sound which is completely familiar and accessible, and yet there's enough difference and creativity to make it hard to simply dismiss them as another "typical band."
On the surface, the music owes a lot to the whole modern pop-rock sound, with guitars in a normal range (as opposed to the drop tuning of heavier acts) and big, soaring vocal harmonies aplenty. Singer Ray Dobson commented that they were still all about beauty and harmony in their music, but that if he felt the need to scream at the top of lungs, he did--the screams range from those of their pop-punk contemporaries to a sound more like the distorted vocals of Flaw's first CD.
Halfway through the first track, then, you'd probably be ready to write them off as just another pop-punk band--then suddenly you realize they're doing more than just the regular verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus thing. Of course, varying song structure is useless if you don't have the chops or writing ability to make it worthwhile; fortunately, that is not a problem here. There are a few breakdowns that ring familiar, but there are plenty of interludes and guitar melodies to make up the difference. On top of that, there are a few songs such as "Time Line for a Butterfly" that almost completely break away from the punk-styled riffing.
Bottom line: if you like any of the previously mentioned bands, or if you like the general style of radio fare but are getting bored by songs from 10 different bands sounding the same, pick up Monarchs of a Fallen Society. You won't be disappointed.