Ah, another CD from Lifeforce. Most of the CDs I've listened to from their roster have been rather enjoyable (for instance, see my reviews of Deadsoil and Fall of Serenity). And to some extent, this release is too, although perhaps not as much as those two. Why? The simple reason is that while this 5-piece metalcore act from Massachusetts does well whatever it is they do, what they don't do is really add much of anything to an overpacked genre.
The disc opens with the title track and wastes no time blasting the listener with guitars and drums, and vocalist Brian Roy starts off with a growled "Come on!" in a voice that makes me think of Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho. And while he does keep up with the growls on and off through the CD, most of it is in a relatively melodic rasp. Not that there's anything wrong with that, in principle; just in this incarnation, the melodic rasp is, for lack of a better adjective, thin. Maybe it's just a production issue, or maybe it was an attempt to set themselves apart from most other bands in their genre. Key word being "most;" here's where the comparisons part of the review starts. The best comparison for the melodic vocals is Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows--the ironic thing is that I like his voice in the context of A7X, but about halfway through the CD it starts to wear thin (no pun intended). Some of the vocal melodies/lyric lines are a bit ridiculous too; see the first chorus to "The Spiral," "I don't give a f*ck if I live or die, I just wanna sing twisted metal..."
The rest of the music is basically a run through the standard elements of metalcore, with harmonized riffs, grooves, and breakdowns aplenty. Really the only complaint about the guitars is a lack of anything to make the riffs stand out, but at the very least the musicians all handle themselves well. Derek Jay's constant frenetic drumming keeps up the energy level on the CD, making the 34 minutes go by pretty quickly. "Lay Down Your Arms" is, like the title track, a good sample of everything the CD's going to hit, including a shouted call-and-response chorus, catchy riffs, another breakdown or two, and a quick solo.
So to reiterate what I originally said, it's not that they're bad at what they do, they just don't do anything particularly imaginative or inventive. If you've got a lot of this stuff on a playlist or an iPod or something, adding these songs into shuffle will fit perfectly.
Listening to it on its own, any, say, 4 or 5 of the 9 tracks will probably work just fine before you decide to switch to something else. I'd say the band has potential, if they'd try a little bit to find their own voice, and I'll check out whatever they do next, but such as
it is this is a pretty mediocre release.