I was all ready to peg this album as one of the yearís most token metalcore releases, and then I heard the track ďStruck by LightningĒ and I had to rethink my approach a little bit. But then, I listened to the rest of this album, and was essentially back to square one. So just where does square one place Mercury Switch? Even now, thatís a bit cloudy.
Now herein lies my problem. Time to Shine honestly has two very separate, but very distinct personalities. The problem is, itís the worse side of that personality that sees the most time on this album. So itís that personality Iíll first discuss. The first track, ďValley of Vengeance,Ē perfectly exemplifies what Iím talking about. Quick blast-beats, thunderous breakdowns, and some pretty standard vocals all add up to whatís in effect an extremely boring product. The guitar work seems to be sort of lazy, and even though itís above average for the genre, that doesnít place it very high on the food chain anyhow. The screamed and growled vocals donít do much to deter from the boredom of the song, and itís not that they donít try to inject some life, but if the riffs and chord progressions underneath are boring as it is; thereís just not a lot to build on. Towards the end thereís some speedy playing that gives a shot of vigor, but itís all too short lived.
ďHallow AyesĒ follows in that exact same vein, and is almost inseparable from the first track were it not for some sung vocals that slow things down. And oddly, where Iíd usually have such a problem with those sort of vocals, they donít sound half-bad. But then the breakdown hits, and itís back to the same boring display of earlier.
Then ďStruck by LightningĒ comes on, and everything is turned upside down.
Not in the chaotic way you would think, but because the band has morphed themselves into Cave In. The spacey atmosphere and airy vocals glide effortlessly over some slow, but present riffing, until the metalcore shortly returns. The song really could have done without any screamed vocals or power chords, and before the duration is over, they return to that spacey style. It doesnít make another appearance until ďThe Invitation of the Reaper, Pt. 4: Standing on the Edge of Reason,Ē where the vocals are wistfully carried on some beautiful acoustic guitar work. Itís really weird that this departure from their normal sound doesnít appear contrived in the least, and I really wish this kind of sound was afforded more time to expand. The singer's voice is pristine and beautiful, and the breakdowns just donít do him justice.
If ever there was a band having an identity crisis, this is it. They just canít seem to figure out if they want to be Cave In or Bleeding Through, and while the choice should be obvious, they need to take a little more time to figure out which direction will result in a bit of longevity. Iíll start them out with a hint:
Nobody will be moshing.