Overall Score: 7/10 Widespread Appeal: 8/10 Consistency: 6/10 Musicianship: 8/10 Pros: Vocals, some really good songs Cons: Inconsistent
Rise To Remain are seemingly the UK’s marmite band of the moment, despite the fact their debut full length album has only just hit the shelves. Whether it is some of the press painting them as the new poster boys of British metal, or the grumblings over they’re only where they are today, including have a record deal with a major label, because of who their lead singer’s dad is, or because people genuinely don’t like the music, opinion is seemingly divided. I first saw Rise To Remain about 2 and a half years ago opening for Five Finger Death Punch at the Death Punch’s first ever UK gig, and I’ll admit at the time I didn’t think much of them. RTR have toured their asses off over the last two years with the likes of 5FDP, Trivium, Chimaira, Hatebreed and even Iron Maiden as well as appearances at Sonisphere 2010 and Download 2011. The large amount of time on the road has done them an awful lot of good. The band I saw at the Bar Academy Islington is unrecognisable from the one you might see in the next couple of weeks on their nationwide UK tour. Rise To Remain have become a very entertaining live act. But how does all this translate into their debut full length recording City of Vultures? Read on to find out…
After the semi-obligatory intro track, City of Vultures launches itself at high gear with The Serpent, a song featuring all the trademarks of a very good metalcore song sounds like a mix of Unearth and Killswitch, if they had a young British singer. It’s a cracking track including the solo and sets the bar high for the album at a standard which they are able to meet, but not consistently over the whole album. Amongst the highlights, This Day Is Mine is a track with guitar work that pays homage to bands such as Megadeth and a certain Iron Maiden with an excellent main riff and a solo and it sounds like the kind of track that should have been on the second Black Tide album, a really good song that will please some older fans. The album’s title track sounds like a mix of A Day To Remember and Unearth and will appeal to the hardcore kids while tracks like Nothing Left and Talking In Whispers are more melodic songs which suit the band well and will pull in fans of the likes of Bullet For My Valentine. Power Through Fear will also make fans of the heavier stuff sit up and take notice, particularly as Austin screams “I will show you what it means to suffer, what it means to die!”
Austin Dickinson’s performance is to be commended as he shows a broad range of vocals and vocal styles getting in everything from clean singing to growls with a few almost death metal screams thrown in for good measure. The musicianship across the album is consistently high, the band sounding both tight and clean, a nod to Colin Richardson’s always excellent production skills which are up to their usual high standard (though the album may feel a tad too clean for some people). There are some good solo’s (and one or two great ones) and some thunderous drums at times and whether you like the music or not no one could doubt Rise To Remain are talented musicians.
City of Vultures is an album that has some tremendously promising moments and some very good tracks, but also falls into certain traps. There are a few songs on the album that have the feel of a band who are thinking like they feel obligated to use songs or parts of songs of a certain style to maximise their audience. This may be true, but this is also when the quality dips. This is not me criticising the band for having some songs that are less heavy than others, far from it as some of the more melodic tracks sound and feel like a band more at home with themselves. This is not something to judge the band too harshly on at this stage of their career, as it is their first album and as they progress they will learn more what elements of their sound work best for them and their musicial identity will develop as a result. I also hope they have good people around them who can advise them to stay true to the music they want to play, rather than trying to morph their style to make a quick buck (or quid in this case) out of them.
This album is unlikely to shift many people on either side of the Rise To Remain fence. Their existing fans will love it, people who consider themselves metal purists will probably hate it. You’re unlikely to find many fans of Immortal or 1349 enjoying City of Vultures. The sound and style is however broad enough to attract a wide range of metal fans, as many devotees of bands such as A Day To Remember, through to the thrashcore (I’m inventing my own sub-genre) likes of Bleed From Within and While She Sleeps through to the more traditional modern thrash and metalcore likes of Trivium, Unearth, Killswitch Engage, BFMV and Sylosis will all find bits and pieces to enjoy here. Many will enjoy the whole album. I’m sure City of Vultures will spur Rise To Remain on to bigger and better things and this could be the promising first step on a very long career. Only time will tell.
Release Date: 5th September 2011
For Fans Of: Bullet For My Valentine, Unearth, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, While She Sleeps, Sylosis, A Day To Remember
This Day Is Mine
City Of Vultures
Talking In Whispers
God Can Bleed
Power Through Fear
We Will Last Forever
Bridges Will Burn
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