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5 Excellent - Masterpiece. A classic.
4.5-4 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a lacking.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio.
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Phoenix Mourning
When Excuses Become Antiques
Metal Blade
6/8/2006 - Review by: Eric Compton
Phoenix Mourning - When Excuses Become Antiques - 2006 - Metal Blade

Track Listing
1. Across Twenty-Six Winters
2. Contrast
3. Niche
4. One January Morning
5. When The Sky Falls
6. From Afar
7. A New Decor
8. Etched
9. The Ornament
10. Waiting For The King
11. My Future Actress
12. Glasskiss
13. 12.5
Well being the old geezer that I am, I can honestly remember when Metal Blade Records focused on power and thrash metal, really soaking up all of those underlining '80s bands like Omen, Malice, and Armored Saint. At one point Metal Blade was the label that could really find all of the new talent, much like other traditional metal companies like Megaforce and Combat. Now, the times have changed and the label is searching for screamo and hardcore acts, really focusing on those New Wave Of American Heavy Metal bands and releasing record after record of the same old routine. With shows like Headbanger's Ball and zines like Revolver, Decibel, and Metal Maniacs seemingly taken over with this sound, it becomes more and more challenging for metal journalists to find something unique or identifying about these new bands. With that being said, we now move on to the subject at hand, Metal Blade's newest roster addition in Phoenix Mourning.

This band was brought to the attention of Metal Blade by famed producer Tom Morris, who recorded, mixed, and produced this record. "When Excuses Become Antiques" is the debut for the group, a thirteen song exhibit of today's screamo genre. While most bands of this genre do over-extend the melody and aggression, Phoenix Mourning is more of a relaxed phase. Certainly the metal aspect is there, with this release really showing off some heavier riffs and a mid-tempo rhythm. Vocalist Jeremiah Ruff offers up the extreme screams while also delivering more pop oriented, soothing vocals. While other bands of this nature such as Atreyu, Trivium, and Bullet For My Valentine are filled with more energy and intensity, this group of youngsters has more of a calming effect. Tom Morris really turns the band's guitar tones into soft touches, each filled with fantastic melody and dynamics courtesy of guitarists Ahmed Smith and Stephen Bowman. It is this soft tone and texture, combined with complex arrangements, that leaves this as more of a progressive rock venture. The record's highlight is the quick rock romp of "Waiting For The King" and the intricate, clean polish of "Niche".

Bottom Line - A fairly good screamo venture that searches for calm, soothing rock elements instead of aggressive, restless energy.

--EC 05.15.06

When Excuses Become Antiques
Metal Blade
Eric Compton6/8/2006


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