Oct 30, 2011

In Dying Arms "Self Titled" Review

Genre: Deathcore/Post-Hardcore
Location: Baltimore, MD
Rating: 3.5/5

1. Murder I Wrote - This song sets the tone for the album, and it's coming at you hard and heavy. With ear splitting highs, guttural lows, soaring cleans, pounding drums, and some catchy guitar work this song has it all. The insanity parts way to let us hear clean vocals and more intricate guitar work, which is reminiscent of Woe Is, Me. An absolutely brutal breakdown takes center stage quickly though, and we are back at it. The song gradually turns more melodic as we come back around to the chorus again. And you guessed it! Another breakdown to finish off the first track!

2. May I Have This Dance - This song wastes no time getting to the breakdown. We again have the duality of the high and low vocals, and the softer chorus. The vocal styles are really a stark contrast, but they seamlessly alter between them. The breakdown in the middle of this song is slow and heavy, just the way I like it. It evolves into a build up into more emotional clean vocals, that is just something you could sing along with. Oh, what's that? Yep, ending with a breakdown!

3. Losing My Grip - We have the first melodic and heavy opening on the album! This song keeps the pace up, until we hit the chorus. The intricate leads coupled with the low tuned open notes sounds nothing short of awesome, with the clean vocals layered over top of it. They transition to a dissonant breakdown and verses. This song is absolutely coursing with energy at this point. They just keep bringing it, and go back to a more melodic and heavy feel to end it with a breakdown.

4. Delusions - The opening to this song has an almost dreamy and ethereal feel to it. It's relaxing but the hum of distorted guitars comes in, and you know it can't last long. It gives way to fast triplets and slower tempos, before taking a technical turn on the lead guitar side. A very welcome addition; one that I was really hoping to hear from them. This song leans more on the melodic side, which gives the band some substance rather than just breakdowns. That's not to say we don't have some brutality in this! After an airy clean vocal section, the breakdown build up begins. It comes and goes, but the drummer shows off his fast feet for a few seconds, and we now to a beatdown kind of sound, before our ears are treated to another breakdown. This cues the epic sounding lead as the song draws to a close.

5. For What I Yearn - As the last song peacefully fades away, this one picks the pace back up. This is honestly just more of the same from them by this point. Dissonant breakdowns, clean vocals, low tunings, etc. That's not to say it's not a good song. You'll just know what to expect by this point in the album. The last minute or so ends in an interesting way though. It goes from an almost underwater sound, to have electronic beats under ambient guitars, which is upbeat. From here, it ends on a dark tone.

6. Illustrations - When this song starts, you think it's going to be fast and heavy. In a surprising twist, it's a piano and electronic drum you hear. A melodic lead comes in over it, and the music continues it's melodic sound. Screaming vocals come in over top, but what I think this band does well is add those low, open notes in with it. It makes it sounds heavy and very melodic at the same time. As expected, a clean vocal break hits and their "formula" is back in effect for the rest of the song.

7. Heroes of June - This short song starts with drums over guitar feedback. The guitar comes in with a riff, then the melody really hits. It's a soothing sound, which really reminds me some older metalcore stuff. The melody comes in and out of the song, but overall, this is a softer song. At least in comparison to the other songs on this album. We've still got breakdowns and parts that make you want to mosh your heart out though!

8. Famous Last Words - I absolutely love the creativity in the opening of this song. It starts with a voice mail box, with the singer then screaming "Why don't you shut your fucking face?!"which kicks the song into full effect. It's heavy and ugly. The tempo picks up long enough to get into a nice circle pit, before interrupting it slightly. They go right back into it, blast beats and all, and then slow the tempo way down again. The clean vocals provide a nice break in the music and completely change the tone of this song. But what's that? Open notes at the end of it clean vocals? Could it be another breakdown? Awwww yeah! It ends as if the entire song was a message. This song is my recommendation for In Dying Arms.

9. Epiphany - An appropriate title for this song. The sound of this song is entirely different from the rest of the album. It's calm and uplifting. Acoustic guitar and piano are present, followed by an electric lead and the vocalist talking. Electronic beats slowly creep in as well.

10. The Weight of Regret - The final song on the album picks up where the previous one left off. It is calm and collected. It quickly turns to an upbeat, melodic feel, which goes towards more dissonance and breakdowns. However, it really is more of the same from these guys by this point. Nothing new is being brought to the table. It's an enjoyable listen and they end it just the way they started it: brutal.

Overall Impression: In Dying Arms' self titled doesn't really bring anything new to the table musically. However, they are talented musicians and can transition from brutal breakdowns to melodic clean sections rather seamlessly. I'm a sucker for breakdowns, and these guys have plenty of them. They are worth at least a listen.

Reviewed by: Craig Rondinelli