A debut album is simultaneously the easiest and hardest album to write. In one way, you have no pressure from an existing fanbase, you’ve got time to write the thing and, if it’s not that great, in years to come critics will refer to it as merely ‘cutting your teeth’. On the other hand though, you literally have everything to prove because, let’s face it, who the fuck wants to go unnoticed? London based I, The Writer have a familiar challenge on their hands then, their debut, ‘The Prisoner’s Dilemma’, has to measure up. Fail to weigh in and you’ll be back in the gym working that bag, that window for success growing ever smaller.
Sadly, this looks like the case. The album begins on the all too predictable note of ‘Freedom’, an ambient, electronic introduction. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard an album start like this now and the amount of times I’ve moaned about it, so I won’t go on, I’ll just simply say it’s shit, filler and there’s no need for it. Unfortunatley, the clichés don’t stop there either; the breakdown rhythms of ‘Chin Up’, the reverb/delay guitar lines used in ‘Taken From The Teeth’ that’s nothing more than a lame attempt to make everything sound ‘huge’, and the clean vocals that are lower down in the mix to strategically disguise that they’re not actually that good.
Essentially, this genre now feels like a bunch of bands got together and for a laugh decided to release the same album two hundred and five different fucking times. I think I’d actually have more admiration and respect for the bands if this was the case because that might actually justify this awful, awful music.
Sure, there are positives; it’s a slick, tight record, the tone of the guitars in tracks like ‘Faith You Breathe’ is mouth wateringly metal, the aggressive vocals have diversity and clarity and at points my head was nodding along in a socially acceptable, writing-in-a-coffee-shop, kind of way, it’s just totally lacking. By around track seven or eight, there’s not really much left to say about the album, it feels like there’s an EPs worth of material at best here and even that might be spreading it a little thin.
To summarise, there just isn’t enough originality in ‘The Prisoner’s Dilemma’ for it to stand out. In fact, it does the opposite and blurs into the masses of other bands doing exactly the same thing. I don’t mean to rip on I, The Writer specifically and I’m confident there are going to be fans of melodic, elctronic infused, metalcore across the globe who will dig this album. Sadly, I’m just not one of them. I guess we’ll have to put this one down to ‘cutting their teeth’ then.
Written by Shaun Cole
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989. |