Summer's End - Summer's End (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Summer's End

Summer's End (2005)

Hand Of Hope

Metalcore is the new pop-punk. Think about it. Fat girls with jelly bracelets have given As I Lay Dying their unfaltering love when just a few years earlier they were worshipping the nude backsides of three pop-punk pranksters on MTV. But it's not just fat girls, it's also angry young boys with dyed black hair and plugs in their earlobes. And it's a bunch of nü-metal fans, as well. You know. Fat guys who love Slipknot.

What we have missing on this release, though, is the muffin-top of all metalcore albums as of late: the singalong wuss-boy chorus. Nope, none of that here. Just straight out, blast-beat double bass pedal drumming and metal riffs galore. There's nothing mind-blowing about this music. I mean, after DragonForce, it's hard to be impressed with anything on the guitar. The thing is, it's all done fairly well. The cookie monster growls and howls are believable instead of laughably bad. The drumming is impressive at times, and the guitars are unfaltering in their dual metal assault.

Sure, all the songs sound the same. Aren't they supposed to? This isn't a piece of modern art to be interpreted. It's metal. It's supposed to be listened to when you put on a pouty face when your mom won't let you go to the mall. I mean, c'mon. There are zombies on the cover and their Pumpkinhead logo looks too much like a rip-off from Creature skateboards (side note: anyone remember Creature?).

What's extremely refreshing about this record is that the only singing on it is during the song "Headwound," and the singing is completely early Black Sabbath/Ozzy style. There are no shrieks of girlish pallor, no Chris Carrabba rip-offs. I mean, these guys know their metal. They understand their roots, which is more than I can say for most groups like them. Plus, the last three songs are live recordings, and even though the snare is the the most ridiculous piccolo woodblock I've ever heard, they are proving that they're not a pussy studio band. This might even have gotten a better score if I generally listened to metalcore at all. Plus, the closing riff on "Flawless Seasons" is super sick. Just pretend that they don't look like losers and you'll be fine.