Release DetailsLABEL Victory
RELEASED ON 4/4/2006
When Breath Escapes
posted on 4/2006 By:
“Hey c’mere! You wanna hear the worst vocals ever?!”
A few years ago some kid hollered that at the top of his lungs in my favorite music store, and suffice it to say, my curiosity was piqued. I stopped perusing the metal section long enough to notice the disc in the disc changer. That album, which purportedly contains the worst vocals ever, was none other than Sinai Beach’s Immersed. And though I wouldn’t nominate this band, or the vocals, for the worst of the worst award, I must admit that both do teeter on the edge of being poor, or even at their best, below average. When Breath Escapes is better than Immersed, but is still barely passable in spite of the highlights.
It seems Victory Records doesn’t want you to know that When Breath Escapes is actually a re-release of the group’s debut. In other words, this is not a followup but a precursor, which should automatically generate at least two questions. Are the vocals as shitty as the ones on Immersed? No. So they’re much better then? Not exactly. The screaming isn’t extraordinary by any stretch of the imagination, but the clean singing continues to plague Sinai Beach like a tenacious strain of cancer. “Candice” is one of the bearable numbers, in that respect, though the off-key wailing in “Humanity” is atrocious and as a result, cringe-inducing. Basically, anytime these Californians decide to pull clean vocals out of their top hat, the creature that emerges is decrepit and diseased, rather than the healthy, young alternative. Another irksome thing about this particular record is the soundclips that accompany the music. When I think of -core, Joaquin Phoenix and Ian McKellen don’t spring to mind, which makes it awkward when their recognizable movie lines do pop up.
Nevertheless, it’s not all bad. Essentially clinging to a mixture of hardcore and NWOAHM, infused with plenty of melody overall, they manage to avoid several potential miscues. The production is all right, the songs are structured properly, and the musicianship is tight while retaining a loose feel. The breakdowns in “True/False” and “When Breath Escapes” should spark a few minutes of annoying, hardcore dancing without offering anything mind-blowing or truly original. Still, a good word to describe Sinai Beach is underwhelming – they aren’t bad, nor are they that good. In short, they’re just there. But if the album that succeeds Immersed sickens via horrible vocals, then perhaps we’ll have to stage an intervention. For now, the only band worth visiting – under the Victory umbrella – is Between the Buried and Me, and it’ll probably be that way for some time.
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