Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Beyond the Citadel of Coup de Grace - Touché CD Review

Remember your first real date that you were oh so stoked about? Everything about that night was going to be perfect, and you were going to damn well see that it happened just right. You spent hours checking out how you looked in the mirror, doing your hair just right, putting some of your sister’s makeup on that big zit on your chin, and thinking about the night's events. You knew exactly what you were going to say and knew how she would respond -- laughing at your jokes, smiling at your heartfelt sentiments, and brushing her hair out of her eyes to look into yours. It would be perfect. You had it all planned out in your mind and everything else around you was completely secondary. But then the actual date happens... and everything you imagined would come across so perfect to your date falls flat. Before you know it, everything hits the fan. This date, however, despite how terrible it was, would teach you quite an important lesson -- don’t try too hard. You just need to go with the flow and play to your strengths instead of trying to be something beyond what you are capable of being.

Beyond the Citadel of Coup de Grace, welcome to your first date. Touché may have been the perfect introduction you thought you could give the metalcore world, however, as much as you planned for it to rocket you into the stratosphere of the mature music world, things won’t happen that way on this first date. Metalcore is your thing and you do it well when you’re focusing on it. It’s everything else on this album that is screaming out, “Run away!”

For example, including not only one, but two, tracks of complete silence does not make you seem artsy, but instead creates a reeking smell of pretentiousness around this effort. This is especially the case when one of the silent tracks is over 12 minutes long and followed by what, I hope, is a joke track. These two silent intermissions, coupled with four other interludes that consist of minimalist ambience, now scream out to the listener, “We are so artsy and so hip and so much better than every other metalcore band because we have a keyboard and interludes that you can't help but love us!” Unfortunately, this doesn't keep a listener listening, it shuns them.

Now if you are to focus on the few actual songs that are here, you’ll find a pretty decent metalcore version of Chiodos mixed with a little modern Gothenburg riffing a la As I Lay Dying. However, this strength is rarely played to with the main focus instead wasted on trying to be "kewl".

Let’s not even talk about the last two “songs” in which one consists only of the singing of “We are Beyond the Citadel of Coup de Grace!” and the other being some terribly bad whiteboy, cheese-filled rapping. Guys, this would just embarrass you to tears if you knew how bad it really made you look.

So after all of this is taken into account, it leaves the listener with about four-ish songs to actually listen to in between interludes. These songs, as mentioned before, are very promising metalcore tracks, but when the listener spends the majority of the CD wading through blank space and meandering ambience, you can’t fault them for leaving Touché sitting on the shelves. The good thing for you, however, is that this is only the first date. Learn from it and your next date might not be such a disaster.

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