Lancaster beasts, This Or The Apocalypse have been playing top notch metal for years now. They have a sound that pushes them high above the waves of mediocrity often associated with the Metalcore sub-genre. This has been apparent since their commercial debut “Monuments” back in 2007 with the band’s use of syncopated polyrhythmic grooves, next level melody with insane guitar work, and the driving passion behind the vocals and musical delivery. When the band dropped “Haunt What’s Left” in 2010, they pushed themselves even further than before, leaving a serious mark on the metal underground. This Or The Apocalypse had set the bar very high for themselves. Over time, anticipation grew for a new album. And with the loss of their godly drummer Grant McFarland, some became skeptical of the band’s continued success. The time for new music has finally come as TOTA dropped “Dead Years” earlier this week. But does it live up to the band’s reputation?
Ohhhh yeaaaah, “Dead Years” is an awesome addition to the band’s discography. Holy shit this record is pissed off… and for all the right reasons as it gives serious and honest social and political commentaries. “Dead Years” starts at a furious pace when “Hell Praiser” automatically floors the listener with musical violence. If that song doesn’t open a mosh pit, I don’t know what will. That statement stands true for the majority of this record. This is easily the most insane, angry music This Or The Apocalypse has ever released. The band unleashes their wrath with brutal honesty song after song with stand out tracks such as “In Wolves”, “Americans”, “Hate The Ones You Love”, and “Power Hawk” among others. Every song on “Dead Years” has something to offer.
The guitar corps and bassist Matthew Marcellus are solid as to be expected. Rodney Phillips and Jack Esbenshade shred out some very impressive, powerful segments, balancing heaviness and melody with ease. There are also breakdowns galore. Not all of which are necessarily impressive, but they are usually angry and effective. The vocalist, Rick Armellino does a great job throughout the record. I’ve always been a fan of this guys lyrical ability and he has really outdone himself on “Dead Years”. These songs have very powerful messages delivered through his fierce screaming. It’s safe to say Aaron Ovecka picks up very nicely where Grant McFarland (and the previous replacement) left off. He keeps up with the band like a pro while adding in his own style. I’ve been following his youtube drum videos for awhile now and I’m really proud of his progress. Especially when you consider the shoes he had to fill.
To wrap things up, this album is in your face, pissed off, and honest. It is an angry commentary on the sad state of a world overcome by corruption, hate, and ignorance. If you love heavy music as much as we do, it’s definitely recommended you go listen to “Dead Years”… right now! And if you like what you hear… buy that shit! This is a great record.