Like an awesomely tacky poster taped up to hide that hole you made in your bedroom wall, Your Demise’s new album The Golden Age is fun at first glance, but incredibly suspect upon further inspection. Dangled somewhere between crunching hardcore and sugary pop-punk, this album doesn’t really take on any one facade wholeheartedly throughout its 11 tracks – which could be argued as its biggest flaw. Unable to find one identity to stick to, and similarly incapable of capitalizing on some on-point guest spots, The Golden Age seems stuck in mediocrity and unable to find itself in a sea of poorly executed, hardcore-influenced numbers.
Musically, most of the album falls into some offshoot of the hardcore genre, whether it be the four-chord pummeling of the title track, the mid-tempo sludging a la Trapped Under Ice in “Born A Snake” or the upbeat grit of “Forget About Me.” It’s a mixture of catchy guitars against Ed McRae’s generally gritty vocals. For the most part, Your Demise seem to want to try and find a home in that pop-punk meets hardcore sound that embodies most of this record, but they just can’t seem to part with the whole hardcore sound in general. Some of these tracks do enough to hit the right notes (“These Lights,” “Worthless”), but it is in the big picture where we see Your Demise falter even more. “Paper Trails” and “Forget About Me” literally start with the same sounding chord – so either my ears are broken or they ran out of chords and/or didn’t think through their sequencing enough to realize the double-take this would cause for listeners.
Another flaw throughout the album lies in the vocal department. The gritty voice during the upbeat sections sounds decent enough (“The Golden Age”) to amp up the brashness of such songs. But some of the clean vocals are downright terrible. “A Decade Drifting,” which to my surprise features Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six, sounds like something is terribly wrong following the upbeat melodies of the introduction. The chorus redeems itself a bit while Franceschi does what he can to keep things afloat. “Never A Dull Moment” suffers a similar fate, relying on clean vocals that just don’t cut it in the spotlight – not to mention arguably tacky lyricism in the chorus. I would also feel inclined to say Jason Butler’s (letlive.) guest spot is the best of the bunch, as his smooth vocals anchor the chaotic ending of “I’m [Not] The One” quite well.
It is difficult to truly pinpoint where Your Demise went wrong, but there is enough misdirection and uncertainty in the songwriting here to make you wonder what exactly these guys are trying to do on this record. Almost completely shedding the hardcore sound they had two records ago on Ignorance Never Dies, McRae’s vocals certainly don’t seem able to save the band’s foray into less abrasive territory on The Golden Age.