If there’s one thing the world needed, it was another mosh metal band.
So I suppose we can thank Alove For Enemies for dropping the Skycamefalling worship of the previous record and taking the route more traveled by. As you all very well know, not enough bands center their sound around breakdowns, so by making the transition from run-of-the-mill metalcore, the band has done their part to meet the spin kick quotient so desperately lacking.
To be fair, I am exaggerating a little bit. Songs like “Tread on My Dreams” rely more on standard fare metalcore and less on breakdowns and double bass, but that’s the minority on this record. And even in the quicker paced, vocally driven tracks, they do have a penchant to include a breakdown of some sort. Maybe nothing huge, and maybe not that specific song's centerpiece, but they cannot go sans breakdown for even one of the album’s eleven tracks. That dependency relegates them to a specific niche and limits a lot of what they can do.
Even vocalist Erich Barto sounds less like Chris of Skycamefalling, and more like every noteless growling aficionado that centers a similar band. He’d be 100% interchangeable with the vocalist of nearly any band on Eulogy, and the problems build from there. You need a strong and powerful vocalist for this kind of band, I understand that, but it’s also important to have somebody who shows at least one or two unique qualities that set the band apart. “Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” sounds like something I’ve heard a hundred times before, with everything from the riffs to the spoken parts sounding completely pre-packaged.
What might be more troublesome for people though isn’t the boring riffs or the token vocals, or even the breakdown-centric approach, but rather the religious themes presented in the lyrics. Their last effort showed a band who gave importance to their religion without going so far as to preach. This is preaching. The constant barrage of religious imagery is anchored by the fire-and-brimstone speeches usually reserved for televangelists and southern Baptists. There are many mentions made of the impending apocalypse, and being on a “side.” I personally couldn’t care whether or not a band wants to integrate their religious beliefs to music, but I do know it’s a sensitive subject for many, and thus many of those people could very well take issue with what’s discussed in the lyrics.
All in all, I’d have to mark this as a disappointment. They’re competent musicians, and the production on here is spectacular, but those are really the only positives to take from this. Their previous effort showed promise, but it also showed them at a musical crossroads. And they, they took the road more traveled by.