After forming in 2002 when the members were barely out of high school, American progressive metallers The Fall Of Troy embarked on a course of events that peaked with 2005’s sophomore record ‘Doppelgänger’, combining tricky time signatures with an almost mathcore style of guitar playing, and halted abruptly with 2009’s ‘In The Unlikely Event’, which led to the cessation of the band the following year.
Despite vocalist and guitarist Thomas Erak joining Chiodos as lead guitarist back in 2012, the reaction to The Fall Of Troy reissuing their back catalogue on vinyl was so positive that a reunion was well on the cards. 2014 saw the return of Erak and the commitment from the band to start writing a new album, to be distributed free of charge as a way of saying thank you to all of the dedicated fans that have followed the band since their inception.
This leads us to the self-release of their fifth record ‘OK’ and a moment of uncertainty and excitement for the first new output from the band in seven years. What this album will do is please fans of the earlier version of the band, as they look to really hone in on the more mathcore elements of their sound combined with a technical eccentricity commonly associated with The Dillinger Escape Plan.
It’s not all madness and mayhem, though. ‘401K’ has a tremendous retro rock guitar riff that segues into an odd but interesting reggae swagger to it, ‘Auto Repeater’ is riddled with electronica throughout, with a catchy undertone and a singalong chorus despite the frantic nature of some of the time signature changes. This track in particular highlights the band’s versatility, breaking down into a ferocious onslaught at the halfway point up to its conclusion.
Lyrically there appears to be a lot of pain on the record, not unlike previous material from the band. ‘Suck-o-Matic’ includes the lines “It’s such a shame you’ve missed your mark. / I find my comfort in how far you fall.”, and the aforementioned ‘Auto Repeater’ displays some depressing moments in amongst the general upbeat nature of the track, “All the time away from you. / I can’t stop falling down. / Even if she says the truth. / I’ll never get up now.”
There are elements that try to reach out and be more accessible for new fans, with ‘Inside/Out’ housing a Mastodon-influenced interlude with an incredibly groovy progressive riff making way to an upbeat technical section with melodic vocals. On the other hand, ‘A Single Word’ lends itself heavy to the post-hardcore area of their sound, with melodic vocals interspersed with harsh screams, gentle rhythm sections, and simple guitar licks.
Newcomers may struggle to be bought into the sonic complexities that The Fall Of Troy appear to deliver so effortlessly, while faithful subscribers may enjoy the return to former glories of a band that has spent the last seven years in the wilderness. ‘OK’ demonstrates that there’s plenty of life left in the tank.
Written by Neil Criddle (@DJCriddz)