Album review: The Life We Lead
Band: To Set Ablaze
Location: Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
Date of Release: 5th August, 2014
Reviewer: Erised ft. Tucker’s Law (you know, like in those shitty rap songs)
Oh my, you are a sadistic bunch aren’t you? You guys tune in day in, day out, watching on in grim fascination as we vivisect average band after terrible band. You listen to the submissions, faintly wondering who in their right mind would submit to the literary equivalent of paying a hooker to repeatedly kick you in the nuts with steel-capped combat boots until you start pissing toenails, totally oblivious and ambivalent to your repeated cries of “BANANA! BANANA! FOR FUCK’S SAKE I SAID THE SAFE WORD! IT’S BANANA! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S GOOD AND HOLY, PLEASE STOP! I THINK THEY’RE INVERTED NOW!” Well, up next we have another unfortunate group of unlikely lads who are in line for a wee bit of a bolllocking. Sure there’ll be a bit of wrist action in between blows to keep them hard, but in the end they’ll be left bleeding in a puddle of their own urine with various people’s semen all over them. Oh, did I not mention that I drafted in my good buddy Tucker’s Law for some extra “assistance”? Well, now you know.
First things first. That epic intro that you guys have opted for? Yeahhhhh….about that. The horn and string samples you’ve used sound really strange. It’s almost as if you have used a 90’s Casio keyboard that you found in your mum’s basement underneath her dildo collection and decided that it sounded “Eh, fuck it. Good enough!” to use on your record. They don’t sound the remotest bit authentic and not even the most gullible person in history (sidebar: did you know that gullible isn’t actually in the dictionary? Seriously, no shit, check it out!) would believe that you have an epic orchestral section at your disposal. Think of it like a Christmas sweater; sure it’s well-intentioned and full of sentiment, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it looks like it was sewn together with a crude assortment of skid-marked and pre-cum stained knicker fragments, mouldy curtain frills and a poorly constructed “Christmas Tree” that more closely resembles a Rancour’s anus.
Second shot to the balls: Whilst the lows are half decent, the highs are woeful. They strongly remind me of the dulcet tones of Sasha Grey’s later films that centred around her gargling ability with a certain bodily fluid that rhymes with “demon”. It also rhymes with “lemon”…but not very well. Also, much like a certain Miss Grey, they suck hectic ballsack. The cleans that are in a few songs aren’t bad per se, but they do seem out of place. The melodies also don’t really fit the progressions that they are being forced into, much like a certain lass with the surname Grey when partnered with a few 13” BBC-packing co-stars. The important difference is that I get off on that shit. There’s just something about those massive bla…you know what? It’s not important..
A bit of relief for you. The drums are actually pretty damn good. Some of the beats are quite inventive as are some of the fills, so much so that I purposely rewound “The Confession” a few times specifically to listen to the drum fill around the 0:50 mark. That’s some tight shit there, son. Well in. Good hustle. Hit the showers and bed down for your massage, but don’t think that it comes with a “happy ending”…oh no.
The guitars will earn you another bit of hand action. Whilst there are some really glaring compositional flaws (case in point: that atrocious tapping lick in Kings), but for the most part the riffs are down right filthy, which in Deathcore is fucking gold. The System Of A Down homage in “The Confession” is also a really cute touch, as are a few of the other breakout sections across the album. There is definitely plenty of open fret abuse but it was tempered with enough actual riffing to keep the feds away, pretty much like when you give the missus a cuddle in the hope that she’ll forget the almighty beating she received the night before for “forgetting” to iron your work uniform. Seriously, I’ve told that bitch a thousand fucking times, how man…You know what? Never mind.
The climax. Well, it’s not all bad. There are definitely some average as hell elements, but there is a fair bit of promise as well. To Set Ablaze can definitely write a tune that is different from the status quo, which is an asset in itself. However, they have to iron out the numerous flaws in the mean time. The highlight for me was probably “The Confession” due to it’s flaws being relatively minor in relation to the considerable strengths on show. There is ample evidence to suggest that these guys can certainly play their instruments, they just need to ally it to a more acute sense of melody. They should also invest in some better production as it really let them down in places. Keep at it.
Vocals: Screams: 5/10 Cleans: 5.5/10
Bass: can hear. Top shit/10
Lyrics: not too bad actually/10
Overall IPHYB Rating: 6/10
Enjoyment Factor: 6/10
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