In Dying Arms Ė Boundaries
Record Label: Artery Recordings / Razor and Tie
Release Date: September 25 2013
I donít know about a lot of people reading this, but I love it when stores have sales on CDs and DVDs, because I feel much better picking up an album Iím not familiar with if I donít spend a whole lot on it, so I donít feel like I wasted my money if I donít like it, or just find it mediocre. I was in my local FYE, where I noticed that they were having a sale on a lot of metal/hardcore albums for $5 or $7. I donít listen to that kinda stuff much anymore, so I thought that was a perfect way to listen to a few heavier albums. I ended up picking up a couple, but one of them that I wasnít familiar with all that much was Baltimore, MD deathcore band In Dying Arms. Iíve heard of this band before, albeit vaguely, and since they were on Artery Recordings / Razor and Tie, I kind of had a feel for their sound already. I was sure that I would enjoy it, even if it might have been rather generic, and I was rather surprised. I went into this album, thinking it would be a generic deathcore/metalcore album, and itís really not. Thereís only a couple things I really donít like about it, but for the most part, itís a very solid album. Right off the bat, the one thing I donít like about it is its lyrics. Plain and simple. The lyrics of this genre have never appealed to me much, considering a lot of it is profanities and misogyny towards women. Not all of it, but a majority of what Iíve seen is, especially the younger bands. The main thing this has been has going for it is its musicianship. I thought this album would be a genericore record with breakdowns and clean choruses galore, and while those things show up, theyíre not obnoxious or overused. Thereís a lot more to this album just that, and I was pleasantly surprised.
To counteract the ďbrootalĒ breakdowns, there are plenty of melodic moments throughout. An accurate description of this band would be melodic deathcore, because thatís ultimately what their sound is. Itís pretty cool, if you can get past the breakdowns that seem rather clichť, and the lyrics that are quite awful, in some places. A song having bad lyrics doesnít necessarily ruin it, but it just depends on how bad the lyrics are. Now, this band is nowhere Blood On the Dance Floor-levels, but even then, some songs like ďBathed In SaltsĒ is literally about being a zombie. That idea is quite interesting to toy around with, but it doesnít really do anything interesting. Another thing that kind of gripes me about this band, and many others in the genre, is their use of profanity. I donít use profanity that often, because thatís just not how I was raised, but I donít mind it. If anything, sometimes it can help emotions really come out in a song or film. The problem with bands like these, though, is that it doesnít. Itís just pointless profanity to show how ďedgyĒ the band can be. The lyrics are easily the weakest point of the record, so if youíre looking for some poetic justice on this record, you wonít get it. The instrumentation is what truly shines, as I mentioned earlier in the review. Plenty of tracks have great instrumentation, including opening track ďSecond Best.Ē Again, the lyrics arenít that great, but the song itself is really cool. After being a rather ďgenericĒ track, it suddenly fades into a melodic piece. Itís nothing I havenít really heard before, but even then, the fact that this band is more than just pointless breakdowns really says something to me. I can at least appreciate them for thinking outside the box in that respect. The only problem with that is that a lot of record follows this formula. At least itís not pointless breakdowns (and those are on the record, too, just not in full force), but the brootal and melodic switch-offs can get rather derivative. Vocalist Orion Stephens also does a nice job at performing both clean and harsh vocals, but Iíll admit, his harsh vocals are much better. His cleans are rather generic for the genre, and donít really do anything for me, but his harsh vocals are rather impressive. Heís got a nice range, with alternating between growls and screeches. But his cleans arenít bad, either. Theyíre just run of the mill, so theyíre nothing I havenít heard before.
All in all, though, this record was quite a surprise. I donít necessarily love it, but itís rather impressive, especially for the genre itís in. Deathcore and metalcore have been rather dry lately, with the exceptions of a few bands here and there, so while I didnít hear of this band until a year or so after this record came out, itís still an enjoyable album. The only thing I donít quite care for are the lyrics, but honestly, I canít really understand most of them, anyway.