This or the Apocalypse? It’s an Easy Choice.
Sunday, March 6, 2011 4 Comments
For fans of Unearth, Lamb of God, Bleed the Sky, God Forbid, Darkest Hour, etc.
I don’t think I’m the only one who’s noticed, but I think the term “metalcore” is becoming a bit of a bad word. When we hear of a new metalcore band, we’re often quick to pass it off as some kind of emo, girl-pants-wearing band that’s only capable of playing breakdowns and the occasional happy riff that goes great with eating candy (see As I Lay Dying’s “The Darkest Nights”). Metalcore was quick to be swept under the rug when everyone got tired of the same generic cookie cutter riffs and breakdowns, and even I, myself will shrug when someone tries to suggest a new metalcore band to me.
A few weeks ago, a buddy of mine suggested a band he’d been listening to called This or the Apocalypse. I was yearning for some new music (like I almost always am), so I went and checked out a few songs on their myspace, and much to my surprise, I was genuinely impressed. Soon after, I picked up the band’s newest release, Haunt What’s Left. See, there’s a very low bar of expectations I have for today’s metalcore bands, but This or the Apocalypse has a truly new and unique sound that I could really get into: heavy, dynamic, and pissed off. Everyone’s always searching for the new big contender in modern metal and I’m calling it right now: This or the Apocalypse will be huge.
What I first noticed on this album was the dynamic range of different sounds this album takes you through. At some points, you’ll be singing along to triumphant choruses (see “Lamnidae”), air-guitar-ing along to the exceptional lead guitar and banging your head through the crushing breakdowns, often all in the same song. The vocalist, Rick Armellino, has got a ton of different tones he’s capable of using, at times, he’ll remind you of Unearth’s Trevor Phipps, then shape his tone to the grittiness of Atreyu’s screaming vocalist Alex Varkatzas, and soon after scream-sing a chorus who’s lyrics you’ll be chanting along to by the song’s end. Musically, there’s always something interesting to catch your attention. In the age of guitarists that do nothing but double-up on riffs, TotA is a welcome breath of fresh air. There’s usually two different parts going on, sometimes one super heavy and groovy riff, with a crazy, face melting lead over it. Listen to the opening riff of “Subverse” or “Hayseed” and you’ll know exactly how bad ass this can sound if done right.
Haunt What’s Left is full of a lot of things done right, actually. It satisfies anything you could want from a metal album: it’s got massive energy through every track, it’s got catchy riffs that you can’t help but bang your head to, and an impressive performance from Armellino on vocals throughout. By the second listen you’ll be screaming/singing along with a lot of the albums great lyrics. Some of them are just so bad ass you want just fucking break things when you hear it.
For this just being their second album, and for a band still on a pretty small label, This or the Apocalypse have really proved themselves as a contender for the next big force in metal, and that’s not something I’ll say often. Again, I’m genuinely impressed by the efforts of this group. Go out and BUY Haunt What’s Left today at your local record store, and support such an impressive new band.
Standout Ear-Bleeding Tracks:
“Charmer,” “Lamnidae,” “Subverse,” “Toro,” and “Hayseed.”
Check out This or the Apocalypse’s video for “Charmer” below: