Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Crimson Armada - Conviction


Alright, what new metalcore is out there waiting to get the world’s attention? I think that The Crimson Armada should be one of the newer metalcore bands receiving attention from the public. After being completely disgusted with what the metalcore genre has turned into, The Crimson Armada is a relief for me, therefore gaining back a tad bit more respect for the metalcore genre. If you want to get a more detailed description of my disappointment about modern metalcore, read the review I wrote on I the Breather’s newest album. I discovered this album while flipping through Decibel Magazine when a full-page ad announcing the album’s release jumped out at me. I tore the page out and took it home so that I would remember to look it up when I got home from work. And to be honest, I’m glad I did, because Conviction was a pleasant surprise.

First of all, The Crimson Armada is NOT an August Burns Red-worshipping, Christian, hipster metalcore band. These guys take influences from screamo bands like Asking Alexandria, metalcore bands like Miss May I and As I Lay Dying, and deathcore groups like Heaven Shall Burn. No, this is not me making wild guesses; the band mentioned these bands in an interview when asked what some of their biggest influences were. After listening to this album, I decided to give their debut a listen just for the hell of it. It turns out that their first album kind of sucks. But I’m not letting that bring down my opinion on Conviction because it’s always the sophomore release that proves a band’s worthiness.

The song structure on the album uses Atreyu’s Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses (one of my favorite metalcore albums ever) as a blueprint, except MUCH heavier and darker. The majority of the breakdowns used in this album are simple and have been used since the genre’s origin in the late 1990s, so there’s a serious problem with most of the breakdowns here. But there are some breakdowns that really catch my attention (especially the ones in the first and second tracks). So overall, the breakdowns aren’t a TOTAL disaster, but I would really like to hear something new (which is very difficult since everyone seems to be using breakdowns nowadays).

One thing that’s somewhat unique about this album is the amount of orchestral and symphonic elements that are used. Yes, I know that Sonic Syndicate and God Forbid have always been known for that, but it’s still an extremely rare element to find in metalcore music. You can hear plenty of this in Juggernaut, the second track off the album. For me, the addition of symphonic sounds really changes the entire sound of the music, therefore taking me on a whole new kind of journey that is like nothing any other metalcore band has ever done before. Something that’s very hard for a metalcore band to do is make the melodic parts and the really heavy parts blend together smoothly and not sound really weird and out of place. The Crimson Armada does a pretty good job of that, although there are some parts that really need some tweaking. The singing is average on my book, and exactly what I expect out of a metalcore band like The Crimson Armada.

Ok, here’s the bothersome part about this album, the screams kind of suck. They sound very forces and strained, but yet very powerful. They sort of sound like the vocalist from The Black Dahlia Murder (dare I say), except with less awesomesauce. Besides that, only slight repetitiveness and monotony are there to bother me; everything else checks out as satisfying. The drummer is very good with the kick drums, but could use some work on overusing the high hat. The guitarists and bassist don’t have anything special about them that I can see. They’re just your typical metalcore musicians. After being completely disappointed and embarrassed by the metalcore genre, The Crimson Armada has (more or less) saved the day with their latest album, Conviction, which gets my score of 15/20.