Oh boy. Just upon reading the press sheet, I knew that I was in for a real treat with this one. “After becoming a local sensation with their blend of emo and anger, they set out on their own…” Now, correct me if I’m making this up, but emo was angry. You’d be hard pressed to tell me that any 14-year-old girls were sitting in their rooms crying while listening to Embrace or Rites Of Spring. Alas, the term “emo” has been relegated to defining the non-hardcore half of Victory’s roster and Senses Fail, amongst whom Stutterfly fit right along side.
Oddly enough, though, at times, as much as I want to trash the hell out of this, I find myself...somewhat liking it. During some of the low key moments, I find vocalist Chris Stickney sounding more like former Further Seems Forever singer Jason Gleason more than anything. The song titles lean towards downright atrocious, with “Burnt Memories,” “Silent Scream,” and “Gun In Hand” among others, but the songs themselves are very well-crafted, with tight vocal harmonies, thick but slicing guitars, and tight drumming. Everything about this release, from the lyrics to the cover art, scream horribly derivative, but it’s just not bad music. The lyrical content is pretty junior high, as is expected, and whereas that immediately turns me off nine times out of 10, it’s not bothering me with this release.
Where And We Are Bled Of Color does fall into some trouble is with the diversity of the individual songs found here. Because there really isn’t much. Songs like “Dead Eyes ” offer up some interesting guitar-work, good drumming, and some solid falsetto singing, but by the time it gets around to the sixth or seventh track, you’ve sworn it was the same song that opened the album. There’s just not enough stylistic differentiation to keep a listener happy for 45 minutes worth of music. Individual elements may impress, but it’s just not enough. Things don’t pick up much as far as excitement is concerned until the last two tracks. “Life’s Disease” is a great, melodic, subdued lead into the closing track, “Flames Adorn The Silence,” in which the screaming that decorated the background for so long actually comes into its own. This comes to pose a question, which is why did they not use the screaming vocalist more? He’s got a great scream, and it just feels like it’s put on the backburner until this last track.
The song itself alternates quite well between the sung and the screamed parts throughout, with the screaming really taking over. The only downside to this song is the break for the spoken word, which is done all too often with this type of music. The screaming sounds terrific though, and you can’t help but think what other dimensions it could have added to this album if it was used for more than background decoration, as so many other bands do.
This album isn’t reinventing the wheel, and its run time will be thought of as going longer than it really should, but it’s not as horrible as I was anticipating as I read through the press sheet. With a possible change in direction, more complex songwriting structures, and lyrical improvements, this could be a band to look out for in the coming years.