Release DetailsLABEL Stillborn
RELEASED ON 8/2/2004
A Thousand Falling Skies
posted on 9/2004 By:
More metalcore from Jamey Jasta’s own Stillborn Records, this time from Connecticut’s A Thousand Falling Skies, and while this treads unerringly in the footsteps of many other metalcore bands utilizing choppy European harmonies and breakdowns, A Thousand Falling Skies just don’t measure up to some of the genre's better offerings.
A purely middle tier act that will rub shoulders with the likes of It Dies Today, My Bitter End, Nehemiah, Fallen Angel and countless others, A Thousand Falling Skies are predictable and paint by numbers as expected but without that certain flair and knack for killer breaks and riffs that gives bands like Killswitch Engage, Unearth, Caliban, Dead To Fall and the genre's top acts some respectability despite their own cookie cutter sound. ATFS do try to add a little beef to their sound by having some resonant breakdowns in the vein of Through the Eyes of the Dead, but their entire delivery between breakdowns is pretty flat, if competent. Acoustic refrains and clean vocals litter the album, especially in the album's latter stages, and after the opening surge of promising album opener “Giving In”, the album never fulfills the initial augur. The album tries to mix crushing contemporary hardcore with a more articulate form of melodic Euro metal, but there seems to be some awkward overlapping rather than a fluid flow from dual solo to earth shattering breakdown, which are the band's strongpoint when they focus on them and don’t try to be too artsy fartsy.
The clean vocals of Pedro Lopes just don’t mix well with the other elements and as they become more prevalent towards the album's end, the overall feel of the album seems to drift from scathing metalcore to whiny emocore. A Thousand Falling Skies just don’t seem to have ‘it’; the ability to produce moving emotional riffs and teeth rattling breaks consistently. Sure they jar you once or twice with some decent grooves (“Smiles Like Razor Blades”, “Neverender”) but what metalcore band can’t do that nowadays? The album just never rises above anything average or gripping, just mediocrity done well, with little truly impressive or memorable moments beyond the opening track. A perfect example is “A Desire Named Despair” which tries to be evocative, but the track's self pity is as clichéd as its title.
ATFS do try hard, and to the casual metalcore listener might offer something solid, but when as a reviewer, I’m continually bombarded by efforts from the genre, you get to raise your own standards about what constitutes a great entry into the genre, and ATFS just don’t quite measure up despite their energy and approach. The point hits home even harder when you consider recent offerings form label mates The Autumn Offering and With Honor.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad album, it's just completely piecemeal and lacks brilliance amidst its solid but utterly cookie cutter sound. Some might argue all metalcore is cookie cutter, and to some extant that is true, but there are few albums that end with as little impact on me as The Wilting did, even for all its forced emotion and stout breakdowns.
OK, but not great. I’d advise the metalcore fan to look to Destiny, Caliban or Dead to Fall to get their fix.
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