Remember, remember, the fifth of October. Not nearly as catchy as V’s threat against British rule, though a date worth worth noting nonetheless. Two juggernauts elected to share the same Tuesday release date for their latest offerings, and both are expected to carry the weight of the dying post-hardcore genre on their shoulders.
Bring Me The Horizon didn’t ask to be the savior; we, the media and fans, gave them that responsibility. Unfairly, we asked the Brits to navigate through the wreckage of a crashed genre and show us the way. We remembered Suicide Season more fondly than our actual impressions, and asked a band to progress to the promised land as soon as possible. Though not ready for such a task, BMTH accepted the nomination and developed a record that took 18 words to title. There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret succeeds triumphantly in spots and falls flat in others. Frankly, it isn’t the revolutionary record we asked the 2010 Warped Headliners to make, but there is a healthy evolution from their last record that is more than sufficient.
Awesome acronyms aside, TIAHBMISITIAHLKIAS, is a strong record all the way through, with a great mixture of tempos and layers to set off the progression and style from Suicide Season. For every experimental track there is a song that shows obvious roots from the band’s past. In the spots where experimentation was encouraged, the results were largely favorable; placing programming in the forefront built up incredible tracks like single “It Never Ends,” guitar leads offered differentiation in “Blessed With A Curse,” and guest spots from LIGHTS yielded spectacular results in “Crucify Me” and “Don’t Go.” Even when the band chose to go with their classic sound like in “Anthem,” “Fuck,” and “Home Sweet Hole,” the quality is top notch and still the fun, catchy hardcore in the vein of the last record.
In the other corner we have Chiodos. Rather than garnering major press attention now near the release date, the band received the spotlight a year ago when they released vocalist Craig Owens. We all questioned the layoff, wondering if letting go of their most visible member was in their best interest. Five months later came the announcement: Brandon Bolmer of Yesterday’s Rising would be the next Chiodos singer. A handful of tours featuring old and new tracks raised some concerns about the writing and direction of the band, though Bolmer’s talent mostly won over the fanbase. Now today we receive the full treatment, an entire album’s worth of songs to analyze the post-Craig era.
While BMTH soaked up the summer press, Chiodos stood behind their classic logo, a few excellent teaser videos and three tracks. Even as the big day neared, the band seemed overshadowed and underhyped, a potentially catastrophic place to be for a semi-major act. Fortunately for the men, Illuminaudio more than speaks for itself, arriving as a late entry for Album Of The Year votes.
The la-da-dee-da’s of “Caves” had fans frowning during the summer tours this year, but the studio version is fantastic. Pre-release tracks “Modern Wolf Hair” and “Love Is A Cat From Hell” sound even better within the album’s context, leading into the ambient and melodic “Notes In Constellation.” Everything following from “Scaremonger” to “Hey Zeus! The Dungeon” stays consistently intense while maintaining the high quality of the surrounding tracks. Closer “Closed Eyes Still Look Forward” brings things home in a gorgeous fashion, completing an incredible album many doubted.
Calling a victor between these two is impossible. One group had high expectations and delivered to the best of their ability; the other slid through and made a career-defining album. Both albums are incredible releases that deserve 320 kbps listens on your iTunes library. Skip your daily Starbucks today and purchase both albums.