As Darkness Falls
7/8/2015 - Review by: T. Ray Verteramo
These guys have nice idea, but bad timing.
It is seriously a shame that this very competent quartet from Florida didn't release "As Darkness Falls" about the same time as Queensryche's, "Silent Lucidity," when the world hungered for drama in their disks, because they would have made a killing. They have that epic power-ballad formula down pat, and even made a few improvements. They know how to write a song. Every track exudes emotion. Tons of emotion. All kinds of great, big, PMS, "oh life and creation divine" displays of emotion!
Maybe too much emotion? (I know, as if that was possible, but here we are).
The project starts off with a "Halloween-esque" piano intro to "A World I can Feel," ("feel," see?) which piques your interest, softens up, then takes off strong with a twisted-twice over tempo change and Chris Hodges' raspy plea jabbing you in the throat. It's wonderfully done. The song has great dynamic, with all instruments and talents of Tim Gibreath (bass), Ian Medhurst (guitar), Wayne Hoefle (drums, piano, keys), and Hodge's vox, tight, timed, and tuned. It's an engaging listen, as well as "Forever" and "Self-Righteous Parade." Whatever elements they may lack with individual technical abilities, though as I said, they are very competent, they make up for with their extraordinary sense of composition. The polished production is fine, making "Darkness Falls," a good presentation.
The problem is that this project of thine cuppeth-runeth-over has a bad case of "metal constipation" – they don't let it go. There is no burning in the fire. Though there are plenty of waves to surf, it's all candle flame from start to finish, with maybe some kick here and there. No release. Why it matters is because you can hear they've got it in them. You know it in your gut that after singing about "flying away," this band just wants to take off the gloves and thrash out. They could do it, too. But, they rein themselves in and unfortunately, it kills the balance.
You wait and wait and wait for that big, hard penetration after so much foreplay, but it never happens. Once the pace slows back down to a crawl, after building up to a sprint, the tease becomes disheartening. It's like, "Why did I bother putting this condom in my wallet when all you wanted to give me was a Hallmark card?"
If you're looking for the sap, "As Darkness Falls" will satisfy. I can assure that one song or two has the ability to inspire with their very pretty, pretty sound. But, for those who want a little pounce with their pretty, you've been warned.
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