January 1, 2008

CD Review: Arise and Ruin - The Final Dawn

Arise and Ruin is an up and coming act out of Canada who have recently released their debut album on Victory Records. With a cover that looks like something Mastodon would use, I looked forward to checking out what metal was contained within. After experiencing the album, I have to say that there are no Mastodon comparisons to be made, the better comparison may be someone like Unearth, but that could reflect poorly on Unearth or put undeserved praise on Arise and Ruin. I am sad to report that while there are moments of interest throughout The Final Dawn, it is a merely mediocre metal release that you are more likely to get bored of partway through than you are to begin singing its praises.

Arise and Ruin play the line between hardcore and metal while never fully embracing either, and not quite feeling like a metalcore band. To the undiscerning ear, there are many that will likely enjoy the brand of chais that they are offering. No, I do not mean that as an insult. Some listeners are easily satisfied, I know I have been in that camp on more than a few occasions. There is also sure to be a group of people who do not have a wide breadth of experience to be able to separate the chaff, not to say that I have a terribly wide experience, but when I listen to The Final Dawn, I know there are stronger albums in this style that I could be listening to rather than it.

Among the chief problems with the album are the vocals. Vocalist Ryan Bauchman does not exhibit any range whatsoever. His range is stuck in neutral. The lyrics are screamed in this monotone scream that at moments sounds like it is about to give out on him. I found his voice grated on my nerves the more I listened to it. It was more of an interruption of the music than an addition. I need something in my vocal delivery; this was just the same thing throughout the entire album. He is going to have to experiment with his delivery a bit in order to help the band be competitive.

Another problem would be the guitars. Now my comments here are not completely negative as they rank as a plus and a minus for the album. On the bad side, the riffs do not sound entirely original. I here these riffs and I feel like I have heard them somewhere else, and better. On the plus side, I am intrigued by the tone they achieve. The sound is pretty interesting, the distortion has a nice quality to it and the production values are strong. Finally, while I do not find the riffs to be al that great, they have the right amount of hardcore breakdown to them that I can very easily see a pit churning violently for them.

The biggest positive would have to drummer Derek Prince-Cox. This guy is a powder keg just waiting to explode. He delivers some very strong beats and fills, and could, in the long run, prove to be the strongest guy here. Hopefully the rest of the band steps up, or he leaves for greener pastures.

Despite the absolute mediocrity, there are still a couple of songs worth checking out. The songs to focus on are: "Bound by Blood," "To the Grind," and "Amidst Devils."

Bottomline. Nothing special here. Check it out if you're feeling desperate or if you feel the need to balance out whatever else your listening to to get some perspective. This is completely mediocre and easily forgettable. Still, there is much worse out there, but you already knew that.

Not Recommended.


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