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The Fall of Troy - Manipulator (Cover Artwork)

The Fall of Troy

The Fall of Troy: ManipulatorManipulator (2007)
Equal Vision Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Funny a band labeled by both fans and detractors as prog-punk/prog-scream/prog-whatever would progress. But have the Fall of Troy really progressed with their newest beast, Manipulator? Some would certainly argue they have, as the band delve into a number of styles new to them, strip some of the bla.
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Funny a band labeled by both fans and detractors as prog-punk/prog-scream/prog-whatever would progress. But have the Fall of Troy really progressed with their newest beast, Manipulator? Some would certainly argue they have, as the band delve into a number of styles new to them, strip some of the blatancy of their previously biggest influences, and produce their most diverse effort to date. But all this considered, is Manipulator actually the Fall of Troy's best effort to date?

When you lose some of the qualities that ultimately made you so compelling in the first place, maybe not so much. The Fall of Troy have always been exceptionally weird and exceptionally dynamic, and while Maniuplator is no doubt the band at their weirdest, it also compromises the incredible dynamic once executed so flawlessly.

This all being said, Manipulator is still an impressive display of musicianship, creativity, and brave strides down hardly touched paths. Vocalist/guitarist/whiz kid Thomas Erak experiments with more melodic, upbeat tones to his singing as opposed to the rambling, rushed methods that worked well within the band's older, hyperactive songs. Instead of jagged, Blood Brothers style guitar hacking, there's brawny, brief fits of technical hardcore rage ("The Dark Trail," "Shhh!!! If You're Quiet, I'll Show You a Dinosaur"). Instead of the back-and-forth sing/scream, Erak tends to sing for prolonged periods of time (as in the strangely soulful "Quarter Past") or produce caterwaul, high-pitched shrieks ("Problem!?," "Shhh!!!..."). One might cringe at first hearing Erak singing in a monotone manner over weak chords in opener "Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them," and while it's warranted, the song becomes a more likeable tune with familiarity, even if it's not nearly as strong an opener as the band are capable of. "Oh! The Casino?" even receives a lot of Weezer comparisons, and while it's a little bit of a reach, its slight power-pop tone does make it that odd of a centerpiece to the album. Erak's wild voice does "Seattlantis" well, a superb piece mixing tempos and moods. "Caught Up" is a sunny, minimal pop tune where Erak's singing voice is the best it's been on record.

Granted, there's still spots of the Mars Volta's noodly, Latin-inspired guitars peppered throughout the album, but they're entirely less prevalent than on The Fall of Troy or Doppelgänger, and that's a noticeable improvement. There's a good amount of high-flying fretboard work to be found, but on "Sledgehammer" it sounds quite well-put within the song's six-minute course, and at most moments throughout Manipulator doesn't so blatantly ape the Volta.

The chaos, friction, and intimidation that was usually present in the band's lyrics is surely lost, though. In "The Dark Trail," Erak bluntly states "I don't have anything better to do than you"; if it's not parodic, it assuredly feels it. However, the band still know how to sound desperate and bitter, as in "Semi-Fiction" ("Tear you down and leave you here / Cast your fears aside... She was nothing more than a game to me anyway").

In addition, Matt Bayles' production gives Manipulator a generally awkward flow. It feels similar in tones to Bayles' Minus the Bear albums and just doesn't feel paired well with the Fall of Troy. The versatile Barrett Jones really seemed to find the aural aesthetic that fit perfectly with the band on Doppelgänger.

All in all, Manipulator is not the album most Fall of Troy fans expected, for better or worse. While potentially overshadowed by past work, and strange missteps and awkward moments aside, Manipulator is still a well-rounded, driven accomplishment by another of Washington State's more brash talents.

Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them
Semi-Fiction

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside MeThe Fall Of Troy - DoppelgängerBrand New - Deja EntenduA Wilhelm Scream - Mute PrintThe Clash - London CallingRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeAt The Drive-In - Relationship Of CommandUnderoath - Define the Great LineSet Your Goals - Mutiny!mewithoutYou - Catch for Us the Foxes

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
illuminatefornicate (March 26, 2008)

these guys are one of my favorite bands. the guitar just blows my mind. Thomas really knows how to shred. I enjoy every song except for seattlantis. i cant get into it for some reason

beaustir45 (November 16, 2007)

"hah. haha... you foolish foolish kids... cut down the tree's i have to admit is quite generic... the dark trail isn't their most instrumentallly amazing thing, but its damn fun to listen to... i just don't get why you guys think they blow... oh well, probably just some kids who think they know a lot about rock and guitar work but just can play power chords off of green day tabs... The Fall Of Troy clearly have stated that all their patterns have been done for exact reason for what the songs about, and really... if i was a famous rockstar i'd rather make enough to pay rent and play these parts then live in a massive mansion but just play the same damn power chords over and over again..."
MUSICA70

bravo you tell those fags
the band members said that this album was more of what they wanted to produce since the beginning but needed to be more popular to support having this kind of album

musica70 (September 29, 2007)

hah. haha... you foolish foolish kids... cut down the tree's i have to admit is quite generic... the dark trail isn't their most instrumentallly amazing thing, but its damn fun to listen to... i just don't get why you guys think they blow... oh well, probably just some kids who think they know a lot about rock and guitar work but just can play power chords off of green day tabs... The Fall Of Troy clearly have stated that all their patterns have been done for exact reason for what the songs about, and really... if i was a famous rockstar i'd rather make enough to pay rent and play these parts then live in a massive mansion but just play the same damn power chords over and over again...

Anonymous (May 17, 2007)

this album would be incredible except for the fact that how it was recorded, in my opinion, sounds like complete shit. vocals are way too high, and something about the recording style sounds like garbage.

Anonymous (May 17, 2007)

fucking amazing album

Anonymous (May 16, 2007)

how could anyone say this band sucks? u have to be absolutley retarded not to see/hear how this band is overflowing with talent..some people are so damn ignorant...i dont mind if u say you dont like them but it rele amazes me how one could say they suck.

Kursk (May 13, 2007)

Sure, I'm gonna be like everyone else and say, "this sucks, it's not as good as their old stuff, or their extremely rare stuff that is recorded like shit," but I would be lying.

The fact of the matter is, The Fall Of Troy are one of those bands that sounds better on record when they have better recording quality (as on Doppelganger and this album). Some of the songs like "Quarter Past" and "Oh! The Casino?!" threw me off at first and I was pretty sure I didn't like them but the more I listen, the more open I am to it and the more I realize that this really is a very fluid album that flows well and every song works in its own way.

And "Sledgehammer" is probably the best song they have ever written and I have heard EVERY song this band has recorded. I'm pretty happy with this album and it really is their best album. Deal with it assholes.

Anonymous (May 13, 2007)

horrible band, gay review. go suck off coh33d fagz

Anonymous (May 13, 2007)

alright so I have been listening to this album for nearly two weeks straight and I must say that is really a solid album...
The band (mostly Thomas) has definitely tried to take all of their influences, or maybe just genres, and basically dedicate one song to each of them. But I do hear a lot of the same stuff that made Doppelganger huge...TFoT has a distinct sound that most people can't hear on the first or even second listen, and some might not hear it at all...For those of you who are TFoT fans and truly think that Manipulator is a letdown, listen to the album as much as you can..while the production is weak and didnt capture the "big" sound Doppelganger had, everything is there musically..this band is incredibly talented.

russe11 (May 12, 2007)

i love the artwork for this, but the music really isn't up to par most of the time.

brangelina (May 12, 2007)

yar this band suck!

Anonymous (May 12, 2007)

Do you really like Caught Up? I think that is easily one of the most terrible songs they've ever written. I also totally disagree with your opinion on his voice. I feel like it's really off on this record. That semi-acoustic song and the Weezer song are the two worst TFOT songs I've ever heard and I'm a huge fan of TFOT.

Anonymous (May 12, 2007)

This isn't even as good as Doppelganger, let alone the ghostship demos or their s/t.

Not sure how this ended up such a disappointment, probably drugs. It's also way too overproduced for this genre of music.

treos (May 11, 2007)

Definitely not as good as doppleganger or the ghostship demos, it is the "noodling" that i miss, which, by the way, they never snaked from the volta, they made it their own thing.

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

The Dark Trail is actually about drugs, not a girl

mcgregor107 (May 11, 2007)

Personal ignorance aside for this band, but I've got to hand out a big WTF?!?! to the first two paragraphs..

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

I have a friend who bought this album; he likes it, but has been saying for weeks now that it "isn't as good as Doppleganger". FOT needs to go back into the studio and rerecord this just so my friend can shut up.

branden (May 11, 2007)

worst music ever

88-fingers-tony (May 11, 2007)

I like this album less and less with each listen.

TheMarc (May 11, 2007)

After being severely disappointed following the first listen, this thing grew on me like crazy, particularly the second half. Good review, Brian!

wearestillalive (May 11, 2007)

not as impressed by this as i was by doppelganger so far. :(

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

Greenvandal: You must not have listened to the album, because his guitar playing style is considerably different than in the previous albums. Good job making yourself look like a clown on the Internet.

Greenvandal (May 11, 2007)

Really bad band. I liked like two songs off of Doppleganger upon first listen, but even those got irritating after a while. I don't even know why people think this kid is some kind of guitar virtuoso. He just plays one style and it's a really played out style.

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

fuck yes for the almighty fall of troy.

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

the real artwork rules. best yet!

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

this fucking record rips from start to finish. all kids can fuck off.

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

The production on this record blows

gazquest (May 11, 2007)

never really a fan.

it seems to me the technicalities they're aiming for are forced out rather than just flowing.
it's not extremely well written.
the songs lack the hooks to draw me in.

and Damiera are better,
and they don't have to shout.

SydBarrett420 (May 11, 2007)

I like this album. there are some really solid tracks on here.

HeresLookinAtYou (May 11, 2007)

Terrific review Brian.

Couldn't have put it better myself.

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

Where's the fucking dinosaur jr review? Huh?

Archangel (May 11, 2007)

I got into the self-titled, but the Manipulator tracks I heard off of Myspace were hugely disappointing.

Anonymous (May 11, 2007)

I enjoyed doppelganger, and while this does have some really cool moments on it, I'm not feeling it altogether. I miss the frentic and fast pace that made the last album.

bombshoes (May 11, 2007)

score is for the review. completely agreed.

danperrone (May 11, 2007)

i'm sorry, but this band fucking BLOWS

most uncatchy band of all time...the post-hardcore version of dream theater with even worse vocals

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