ALBUM REVIEW – “Hold On Pain Ends” by The Color Morale

We All Have Demons and My Devil In Your Eyes earned The Color Morale their stripes for all the right reasons. It was a breath of fresh air to see such a musically talented band so bent on flooding the genre with an air of positivity, since the previous holders of that niche-within-a-niche boiled down to We Came As Romans, who were at the time starting to get fairly stale. The band challenged so many standards about what a metalcore band could do.

When Know Hope dropped in 2013 it was painfully obvious The Color Morale had changed for the worse. The music slowed down, the dynamics disappeared, the songs melted into one another, and the sparkle was all but gone. Perhaps the fact that the record came during the band’s transition from dark horse status to “oh my gosh why aren’t they famous?!” status is a good indicator of the sort of fame they acquired, and potentially dark commentary on the lack of correlation between recognition and talent.

The TCM fanbase is chock full of those who found solace in the band’s messages, and this can’t be faulted at all. But the band has gotten to the point where they, and their followers, are clearly far too caught up in themselves and the issues at hand to hear what is actually going on with the music itself. You can see this without pressing play, just look at the too-clever-by-half song titles (The album title can be forgiven, but “The Ones Forgotten by the One Forgetting”, really?). It seems more like something a tired Christian rock band would do, pull tricks out in order to foolishly attempt to seem relevant again.

Perhaps worse are the songs that are reminiscent of TCM’s older material. “Is Happiness A Mediocre Sin?” sounds straight out of the bands glory days. That guitar lead work, the catchy chorus that falls right in line with unfortunate expectations, the whole experience is a solid reminder of what the band used to sound like 5 years ago. In the place of progression is a sad regression, and it just makes no sense.

“Prey For Me” has a similar feel, but also ultimately fails. Someone, undoubtedly enthusiastically, thought dropping in generic background choir parts in an already campy song would be a great idea. TCM as a unit works to be a beacon for the lost and confused, and then creates a song that in of itself pleads on its knees to be an anthem. We get it guys.

There are spots and phases of great moments throughout Hold On, like “Developing Negative”, probably the best song on the record. The song is raw, aggressive, and actually shows some awesome displays of technical prowess. There are elements of what people fell in love with old TCM, and some new novel ideas that are more than welcome. It presents a new direction that TCM would greatly benefit from taking.

Pay attention during the bridge, which features a guest spot from Craig Owens and an out-of-nowhere choir part that is expertly dark, before dropping into one of the best choruses the band has ever written. Where is this writing on the rest of Hold On?  Where is this level of tight and punchy metalcore? Why is this track buried amongst starry eyed messages and naive musicality?

The closing track starts off as a lovely acoustic number. Garret Rapp, who has always been a very good clean vocalist, is given a whole new canvas on which to come clean and put forth his ideals in a much simpler format. The delicate guitar writing meets right up with Rapp’s voice and the result is an especially unmasked sensation of deliverance and even tranquility; and then, regretfully, the song builds into what is essentially TCM’s version of “If It Means A Lot To You”. The band came so close to a very special way to tie everything off and botched it by lacking artistic restraint.

Clearly The Color Morale are capable of writing music the pushes the envelope and those who encounter them. If Hold On was an EP of this album’s best cuts. the story would be totally different. Instead we are left with blindly boring noise that just feels rushed and underdeveloped. Now that-partially thanks to a long awaited debut Warped Tour run-the group has broken out and really reached a new crowd, it is a shame that they’ve apparently gotten caught up in all the mess. Hold On Pain Ends leaves those of us not jaded by the prospect of salvation wanting more.

6/10

Max Robison

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Color Morale Release “Prey For Me” Music Video | RichardThinks.Org - September 2, 2014

    […] “Prey For Me” comes off the group’s Fearless Records debut, “Hold On Pain Ends“, which was released today (09/02). Stream the music video below and be sure to check out our official review of “Hold On Pain Ends“. […]

  2. The Word Alive Announce US Tour with The Color Morale, Our Last Night, Dead Rabbitts, and Miss Fortune | RichardThinks.Org - September 10, 2014

    […] out our review of The Word Alive’s “Real” Check out our review of The Color Morale’s “Hold On Pain Ends” Check out our review of Miss Fortune’s “A Spark To […]

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