It’s a concept which is ambitious in its aspirations, but which ultimately fails to deliver on a number of levels, not least because the diversity of the literary sources is then reflected in a mish-mish of musical styles which ultimately fail to homogenize.
The opening title chapter, for example, veers all over the place, embracing traditional metal, death metal and nu-metal in a way in which – and especially in Bryan Baker’s vocal delivery – is disjointed and lacks any form of all-important cohesion: possibly designed as an ‘overture’ for what is to come, by embracing various musical themes to come, if this is its ambition then it doesn’t quite work on one level – but does indeed serve as a precursor for what is to come, as the rest of the album, unfortunately, carries on in the same vein.
‘Insectoid’ follows down the same route, crashing its way through the back catalogues of the likes of Slipknot, System Of A Down and Volbeat with inglorious abandon. ‘The Butterfly Effect’ does seem to be the first attempt at delivering a song in a consistent style, but is ruined by its descent into a second division DM screamfest in its second half, while ‘From Funeral To Funeral’ and ‘King Of Ithaca’ also suffer from needless death screams interjected into their otherwise solid classic metal stylings. ‘Horror’ is the one track that does benefit from leaning heavier in the DM direction, but interjection of a Serj Tankian-style speed rap just ends up confusing once again, and the rest of the album continues along the path taken by its first half, with the hotchpotch approach distracting.
Which is a shame because, musically, there are some nice touches, with guitarists Terry Anderson and Shawn Culley delivering some fairly big riffs and shredding some half-decent if derivative solos (when allowed to) while Jason Brown’s drumming is consistent and impressive in its solidity, and the production is clear and precise – although it does all too frequently feature Ryan O’Shea’s impeccable bass work too low in the mix but the problem is the inconsistency of approach which ultimately leads to a confused and unfulfilling listening experience.
Tales / Insectoid / The Butterfly Effect / From Funeral To Funeral / Horror / King Of Ithaca / Vengeance / Red Crescent / That Bleakest Shore
Recommended listening: ‘From Funeral To Funeral’
‘Tales’ is out now on Corpse Corrosion Music.