THIS OR THE APOCALYPSE - MONUMENTS - LIFEFORCE
That Pennsylvania’s This Or The Apocalypse is a metalcore group can be seen from fifty kilometres away. The name - four words and all - gives it away. It is no secret that this genre has run its course (as of 1999!). Not being hot to begin, the bastardized sound and derivative copycats have nailed the coffin door shut.
On the other hand, This Or The Apocalypse is honestly not bad. All the typical screams, occasional solos and breakdowns are here, yet this band is at the brutal end of the spectrum and has not completely drowned itself in mediocrity. To start, there are no clean vocals, N Sync chants or Soilwork-copy emo moaning. The speed is impressive. Song six Architeuthis is fast, powerful and brutal to use one example. Drummer Grant Mcfarland has both a potent variety and a booming sound. He is the exceptional member here. These factors add up. Of course, for amusement, listen for the brutalized Whitesnake riffs in the middle of the title track.
Worth criticizing though are the lyrics. Despite the ominous and topical cover artwork and the label’s direct reference to the “thought provoking lyrical content” the words are the typical abstract, ambiguous collection of words that say nothing. The cover tells me you know the world is in trouble. Presumably the band can do better than, “I Started Yours/As Will I End, For All We Are/A Moment Stolen, Rather Than given/Torn From The Hands If A Boundless Whisper...” Seriously!
Between this album and the apocalypse the latter is probably more unique and heavy, but absent Armageddon today or tomorrow these five guys are a cut above the usual metalcore clique. - Anna Tergel