After a successful year touring their 2011 debut, ‘First Born’, Ohio natives The Plot In You return with the follow-up, ‘Could You Let Your Children Burn’. Coming from the heavier half of the Rise Records roster, the ten tracks on offer sound exactly as expected which is, on the whole, a good thing.
The group of American metalcore bands doing the rounds these day have a tendency to sound much alike each other, and TPIY are no different. Metalcore in 2013 is all about huge breakdowns, dubstep glitches and vocals that sound like Satan himself is dishing them out. The crushing guitars and guttural screams from frontman Landon Tewers give you that feeling that can only come from music as heavy as this; it’s not hard to see why their live shows are getting a name for themselves.
Another surprise in store is the clean vocals courtesy of Tewers. Frontmen in metal are usually an accomplished screamer or singer, with only a few being able to claim their prowess at both. His voice has a character to it not often seen, which a rich and raw sound to it. The band have also obviously put in some effort to stray from the two trick sound of their peers, with some inventive melodies and beats being put to good use.
However, all of the aforementioned inventiveness is always kept within the modern American metalcore blueprint, and it becomes obvious after ‘Troll’ kicks in 5 tracks through that you’re not going to finish this album feeling spoilt for choice in terms of variety. You get the feeling that the band are capable of expanding their sound and creating some interesting sounds, but the lure of festival main stages and mega bucks that have been afforded to the likes of Asking Alexandria was just too hard to resist.
The art of subtlety and metaphor is obviously lost on TPIY when it comes to lyricism. The band has a habit of stating a point and then, instead of using imagery and wordplay to create an image in your head, beating you round the skull with it like a club peppered with “slut”, “dick” and “whore”. Some might say it’s daring songwriting, but it just comes off as lazy.
On the whole, TPIY should be commended for their sizeable efforts to build on the sound that’s dominating alternative airwaves, and has been for the past couple of years. But, as the album progresses, they begin to feel like token gestures in a sea of carbon copy breakdowns and identikit riffs. This is ultimately to the record’s (and the band’s) detriment.
Written by Alex Garland