Album Review
A Skylit Drive - Identity On Fire Album Cover

A Skylit Drive - Identity On Fire

Reviewed by
A Skylit Drive – Identity On Fire
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Record Label: Fearless Records
I have been a fan of A Skylit Drive for a couple years now. I became a fan of them about right before their Adelphia album was released. I was definitely looking forward to this album because I didn’t listen to Adelphia thoroughly until about 6 months ago. Most opinions I have heard on Adelphia were negative, and I will say that Adelphia was not up to par with She Watched The Sky or Wires And The Concept Of Breathing. So I was interested to see if Identity On Fire would kinda redeem their sound. Will I say they were successful in doing that….sure. Will I say it is their best album? Probably not.

Overview: 12 songs on the album is common for A Skylit Drive, but every song is pretty heavy, and unfortunately has the same issue as a lot of albums of their genre - Sameness. Now it’s not the worst case of that I’ve heard, but it is apparent in the songs. If there was a certain part of the song, it’s the chorus. Even in their best songs, the chorus is very alike in almost every song. A lot of the songs start with something soft like synth or a guitar effect, which is cool, and then go into some sort of heavy rhythm or break down. What ASD did add this time around was chanting, something they never really did in the past, which was a cool addition to their sound. Jag once again sings higher than any man should sing with his incredibly high pitched vocals, which have not changed through three albums. His high vocals definitely gives ASD their signature sound, along with screams and growls by Brian and Cory that also really haven’t changed. The drums are great, as always. Cory is a great drummer, and he proves it in every album in my opinion. Breakdowns in this album, as always, are very creative, though a lot of them sound the same from song to song. If there is one thing really different about Identity On Fire, it is the use of synth, which is not heard as much in the other albums. Lyrically, the songs peel away from the other themes as well. The songs seem to be written for more of a live purpose as opposed to a listening purpose. Overall, if there was an older album I’d relate it to, it’s Wires. I will say the album should probably have less than 12 tracks. It seems like some of the songs were just thrown on there, which could poison a really good album. There’s nothing wrong with an album full of good songs, but it’s the album that takes that extra step that separates the good from the great.

(All ratings are on a 1 to 5 scale)

1. Carry The Broken (4) – I’ve always preached that an album’s intro song is critical to the entire album. If the intro song is weak, it’s hard to recover. This song starts with the chanting I mentioned, along with some sweet drumming from Cory, then Jag sings a bit and it leads into "Too Little Too Late". Pretty decent intro. The chanting definitely brings in the album well, though nothing beats “Stand up! This is a fucking ovation!” to begin Adelphia. Sexy.

2. Too Little Too Late (4) – A good “first song”. Though the tempo is a little slower than the rest of the songs, it gives the album a nice different start. The song in itself has that “jump” feel to it, which leads me to believe that it’s a good song to play live. I would probably not have made this the first song on the album, but it’s one of the better songs on the album. I really like the bridge/breakdown part, where Brian screams and Jag sings in between, is definitely awesome. A strong start to the album overall.

3. XO Skeleton (5) – Now I heard this song about a month before the album was released, so I knew this song already." XO Skeleton" is probably the best song on this album. The chorus is catchy, the verses are energetic, the breakdown is nice and nasty. The vocal harmonies never disappoint with ASD, and this song has plenty of it. This song sounds like something off Wires, which will be a plus for ASD fans who didn’t like Adelphia so much. The first three songs on the album make the beginning of the album the strongest part of the album.

4. Conscience Is A Killer (2) – After such a positive start, this song is the type of “poison” song I mentioned. This song unfortunately kinda just goes. The chorus isn’t really anything special. In fact nothing in the song really stands out at all. It’s just a song at best. That’s what I would call it. A song. It’s as if the song was just thrown on the album.

5. Ex Marks The Spot (4.5) – Awesome song. Though the song at first listen doesn’t really sound much different than a typical ASD song, the song definitely sets itself apart from the rest of the album. In fact, with the way the song begins, I’d say this song should begin the album. It has the chanting again, along with a sick breakdown. The verses are pretty average, but the chorus is very catchy, with different vocal melody and rhythm, which makes the song stand out. “This is where you heart stops” is a good theme for the song and even the album. I emphasize again that this song should have started the album.

6. The Cali Buds (3) – This song puzzled me at first, but I guess I’m not used to ASD kinda singing about something other than weird shit and…not about their friends from home. I do like the whole “California, waiting for ya” motif throughout the song. The song musically, again, is pretty typical of ASD, which is why I give it a 3 and not higher, but overall it isn’t a bad song. Nothing wrong with bro love in songs.

7. Your Mistake (3) – This song is very average. I can’t say it was a bad song, because it wasn’t at all. I’d even go so far as to say it’s a good song. But this is the first major symptom of the sameness in the album. The song is just a common ASD song and nothing more. Again, they use the chanting within the song to kinda set it apart, but it takes more than that to set a unique sound. What I did like about the song was the odd time signature. I can always give props to a band who doesn’t do a straight 4 every song, so good for ASD, but the chord progressions and melodies really stay the same. This is the album’s halfway point, so this is where a listener loses interest and could potentially quit on the album if too much of the same thing is heard.

8. Fuck The System (2.5) – I love the use of synth in this song, which keeps this at a 3. Unfortunately, this song once again does not do anything to really stand out on the album. More chanting, which we’ve already heard plenty of, a steady chorus, which we’ve already heard, a cool breakdown, but nothing really unique about it. I’d say if a listener didn’t quit on "Your Mistake," they really might on this one. Jag singing “Fuck the system” is in no way intimidating. I mean I don’t know if it’s supposed to be, but I can only assume a phrase like that is meant to be powerful, and jags voice just doesn’t quite get that done.

9. 500 Days Of Bummer (4.5) – This song may have saved this album. The song, though it does have some “typicalness” to it, I can absolutely tell the song apart. The chorus has a really catchy guitar melody, which ASD pretty much surrendered after She Watched The Sky EP., so that was a breath of fresh air. The song really emphasized on the lighter side of ASD, instead of the heavier side, which is also a breath of fresh air. The song also appears to be about loving and reminiscing about summer, which I can definitely relate to. If a listener stuck around, I believe this song will keep them in. Unfortunately, if you’re only into the heavier side, this song might not be for you.

10. Tempt Me, Temptation (3.5) – The heavier side of ASD shows in this one. The song, once again, isn’t bad, but it’s still got a lot of the same stuff again. I’ll say the wild and heavy verses are a change from the usually sung verses, but the chorus lacks any sort of uniqueness. That’s about as much as I can say at this point in the album without sounding like a broken record.

11. Identity On Fire (3.5) – Title song, so it’s gotta somewhat bring everything together if it’s placed at the end of the album. I’m not totally sure where the title “Identity On Fire” comes from, so I can’t speculate on what the main theme of this song and the album is. What I like most about the song is once again the use of synth, especially at both the beginning and the end of the song. It’s good to hear some different sounds than the other albums. But I just can’t call this song great. It’s just another good song.

12. If You Lived Here You’d Be Home (3) – The song that ends the album should be the finale. Nothing beats a good ending song. This song really doesn’t get the job done. It’s pretty just another song. Again, a good song. But it’s just nothing special. Things I like – the chorus. Definitely catchy vocally. It doesn’t completely sound the same as the rest of the album, so at least it’s got some uniqueness to it. Ending the song and album on just a vocal line is a plus, but once again, it’s not a finale. The whole song would have had the same effect in the middle of the album as it does at the end.

Vocals (4) – Jag, despite the slightly annoying voice, never disappoints. The screams and growls are pretty flawless, but there was no variety in any of the vocals throughout, other than the few effects that were put on some of them. As for lyrics, it’s nice to hear ASD sing more about stuff their fans can relate to. Not that they never have, but it stood out more in this album than any other one.

Guitars (2.5) – ASD has never been known for guitar work, so I really can’t rate anything more than average. The sameness of the album thrives in this end mostly, along with the vocals. Although the breakdowns are very tight, they all sound the same. The chorus and verses are a lot of typical and repetitive chord progression, which bores a listener, especially after 12 tracks.

Drums (5) – Cory’s a great drummer. Already stated. He always keeps his drumming interesting, and you don’t often hear the same rhythms out of him in two songs. On this album, it is no different. He keep s every song going flawlessly and he’s awesome to watch live.

Recommended If You LikePost Hardcore, Alesana, blessthefall, In Fear And Faith, We Came As Romans

This review is a user submitted review from ShutUpMeg. You can see all of ShutUpMeg's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 40
06:47 PM on 02/20/11
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CheckeredFloors's Avatar
tl;dr [2]
06:51 PM on 02/20/11
xName Takenx
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xName Takenx's Avatar
i mostly agree with your track by track ratings, I think the end of the record has the strongest songs on it. I also agree about the screams and growls; imo they are some of the best i've heard...
07:10 PM on 02/20/11
don't ask
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No Avatar Selected
I'd really try to rework your style. Your writing isn't bad, but the style you did it as is a real turnoff to people.
08:21 PM on 02/20/11
Old Fears New Frontiers
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circletheworld's Avatar
well that was in depth.
08:36 PM on 02/20/11
the seventeenth
work in progress
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the seventeenth's Avatar
I love this album, and I like the new take on the review.
08:59 PM on 02/20/11
Spencer Control
i am orange and i can grow wings
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Spencer Control's Avatar
Jag singing “Fuck the system” is in no way intimidating. I mean I don’t know if it’s supposed to be, but I can only assume a phrase like that is meant to be powerful, and jags voice just doesn’t quite get that done.

Cannot agree more. Only System of a Down has pulled this off, that I have heard. I liked the way you wrote the review, it's less confusing than normal format, although both work. Album was okay in my mind, lacked some oomph but still listen-able.
09:04 PM on 02/20/11
Registered Member
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their best effort
09:23 PM on 02/20/11
promesas son sombras
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EchoPark's Avatar
Great album and review. Nice to see a song by song critique.
09:27 PM on 02/20/11
we will set sail the prairie
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TriangularDuck's Avatar
love this CD, disagree with your track by track. Your Mistake is easily the best song the band's put out, and 500 Days of Bummer is probably the weakest on this album (Conscience is a Killer is second-weakest for sure though, agreed there). This CD rules though, it's probably their best disk overall.
09:42 PM on 02/20/11
Je suis l'Alpha et l'Oméga
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WeltallAY's Avatar
Cannot agree more. Only System of a Down has pulled this off, that I have heard. I liked the way you wrote the review, it's less confusing than normal format, although both work. Album was okay in my mind, lacked some oomph but still listen-able.
You're right about the "ooomph". I feel like there wasn't really any thunderous parts or crazy change in dynamics. Again, they should have used the producer they used for "Wires.."; the production was an excellent combination of rawness yet still very crunching and I loved the way you could hear every nuance the drummer did.

Better than Adelphia (which I'd give maybe a 7) this CD was still kind of a letdown. I'd give it a 7.75 which is low considering "Wires..." was such a great CD (about a 9.75).

I also didn't care for the mentions of "real world" things. "The Cali Buds" sounded so epic until they muttered "California Waiting For Ya".
09:55 PM on 02/20/11
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Emmure408's Avatar
pft Conscience Is A Killer is a great song. a definite 5
10:16 PM on 02/20/11
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lol i would agree on the overall rating but Conscience Is A Killer is my favorite song by far on this
10:26 PM on 02/20/11
City Love
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Akissforher's Avatar
Im gonna be that guy and say this will never stack up to wires
10:39 PM on 02/20/11
Allez l'OL
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JuneJuly's Avatar
Im gonna be that guy and say this will never stack up to wires

It really doesn't, but it's still better than Adelphia.

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