Every band on Tooth & Nail Records brings a different form of versatility to the table. For instance, Icon For Hire meshes a crushing hard rock sound with poppy effects. Emery presses a sound that is metallic in value but finds realness behind its passionate and memorable melodies. Ivoryline brings the heat with their colossal alt/rock hooks, tightness in sound, and energy. Sent By Ravens has a solid sound as well – most comparable to the likes of Ivoryline – but they have also improved their own entity and find themselves coming into their own on their second release, Mean What You Say.
Mean What You Say consists of songs that sound epic and anthemic. This is most apparent from the second track, “Listen,” which features an intro that reminds me a lot of Ivoryline’s “Vessels” and consists of a nice hook laden with massive melodies. Its sweet arpeggios show the band’s focus on technicality as far as their instrumentals go, with the song featuring tons of slick, booming guitar melodies. From this song, it is apparent that the band has made huge strides forward from their debut, increasing the accessibility of their sound while keeping it just as passionate.
The instrumentals are fermented smoothly behind the band’s crown jewel: the vocals. Zach Riner’s vocals are extremely fastidious and smooth throughout the album, with many of the vocal melodies bringing a more hardcore vibe as some background screams and yells increase the album’s energy. Riner not only sings the lyrics, but he preaches them, and this keeps listeners reminiscing them. One of the most well-crafted lines comes in the third track, “Rebuild, Release,” when Riner sings the powerful and effective line “I bleed for something real right now.” You know that he really, just as the album title portrays, means what he says.
“Learn From The Night” is probably the most impressive track, although the entire album is very strong in its entirety, not lacking a single powerful track. This track’s beautiful execution of strings and tension build-ups, especially in its verses and soaring choruses, gives the song impeccable characteristics. It’s easily one of the best straight-up rock songs I’ve heard so far in 2012. The title track follows with a similar vibe, but having a slightly speedier approach which prospers from well-written lyrics. Once again, its memorable chorus is very attractive.
Even after the first five tracks, the album continues to hold listeners’ attention through its fuming passion and poise. “Need it Today” begins with heavier characteristics (reminding me of more -core-related acts such as Haste The Day and Write This Down), but it’s a song that is both catchy and emotional. The song’s outro features a sentimental conglomeration of sounds and Riner’s singing of the words “I need a way to get close to you,” a line that exemplifies the band’s religious message – a message that seems to be neither impinging nor cliche.
For Sent By Ravens, Mean What You Say is a huge step up from their solid debut, Our Graceful Words. Lyrically, the album is very sound. The band has original and genuinely crafted lyrics, with great figurations forming songs that are crafty and fresh. Apart from the solid lyrics, everything on the record sounds more tightly knit and purer than the rookie release. Through its versatility and musical maturity, Mean What You Say sounds excellent. Each song is an adrenaline rush that enters in your ears, tunnels through your bloodstream, and finds comfort in your heart.