Release DetailsLABEL Lifeforce Records
RELEASED ON 10/17/2006
A New Shape of Desperation
posted on 10/2006 By:
I’ve been feeling really torn about this band. After being less than impressed with their split CD w/ Cipher System, and then being absolutely pummeled by Burn The Flags, I’m finding Falkenberg, Sweden’s By Night’s latest Lifeforce Records offering to be a little confusing. A New Shape Of Desperation sounds like the result of a band trying to mature a little too quickly. I’m sorry to give away the ending so early, and while I can totally see what the band was trying to attempt to accomplish, it still sounds like there’s something missing.
Bare with me through this. You know the shift in sound Fear Factory made from Soul Of A New Machine to Demanufacture? Okay. Now you remember the shift they made from Demanufacture to Obsolete? Well, By Night has done the same, except they skipped an album in between, comparatively speaking of course. They’ve gone from ferocious staccato-driven metalcore to somewhat aggressive modern metal, and the change is very noticeable from the first listen. The tones are thicker and more accessible, the songwriting is less frantic and more melodic, and there’s more of an emphasis on composing more graspable metal songs, similar to what Heaven Shall Burn has done on Deaf To Our Prayers. Is this a bad thing? No, but it’s also not a completely smooth transition, and comes as a perplexing surprise.
There’s no clean singing, toughguy breakdowns, excessive harmony fills or recurring blastbeats. Not every stuttering riff has a double bass accompaniment (even though it still happens a lot); the vocals don’t roar like some feral beast, and the overall extremity has been toned down. Keep in mind, these are merely observations, and NOT critiques per se. And maybe that’s the problem after all. As both a reviewer and moderate metalcore enthusiast, the dozen or so listens I’ve given to …Desperation have yet to hit me the way Burn The Flags did after merely one spin, from a pure songwriting standpoint. Aggression be damned, honestly. The songs here simply don’t pack the same punch as the debut as far as featuring memorable riffs or vocal patterns, and tend to dip too far in and out of a trippier headspace. Unfocused? No, these guys know exactly what they’re doing, but the end result is just a little on the shaky side. The grooves are good, but they also border on being plain, and thus, sound a little run-of-the-mill alongside their peers. By trying to focus on writing better songs, some of the edge has been lost. Just a little.
A New Shape Of Desperation is a more mature album, no doubt. Personally I don’t have many major problems with it, but still, almost every time I listened to this, I wanted to turn it off and listen to Burn The Flags. It meanders somewhat, the main riffs in many of the songs such as “Same Old Story”, “Through Ashes We Crawl”, and “Walls Of Insecure” are very simplistic and generic, and there’s this extraordinarily annoying sort of buzz which sometimes adheres itself to what seems to be the bass guitar during some sections. It might just be the promo though, since they aren’t always perfect. In the end, while I greatly respect this album for what it is, for a band as good as By Night, it sounds very dull at times. Not bad, just bland, and I hate reviewing albums that end up causing such a low impact. I don’t need to be beaten to a bloody pulp by this kind of music, but a welt and a couple bruises here and there would have been nice, at least.
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