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Old 01-17-2014, 08:09 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 1,484
19. Touché Amoré - Is Survived By



Melodic hardcore rising stars and new wave of screamo leaders Touché Amoré seem to improve with each new album they released. In my opinion, with this one, they managed to achieve the impossible: topping 2011's Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. Musically, Is Survived By is all about contrasts; you can hear that as the first luminous, serene riff kicks in, with the anxious screams incongruously fitting in. The guitar sound does a hell of a job in making the album as interesting as it is. It's basically perfect: metallic without being too distorted, aerial and radiant without being too clean and non-supportive to the aggressive nature of their music. Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt's dual riffing attack is very creative, blending in original chords and melodic patterns you wouldn't usually expect from a hardcore album. They also incorporate post-rock and shoegaze (with the wise use of bended notes and chords, that never seem to stop sending shivers down my spine), making the whole thing sound even more beautiful. The quieter songs are also extremely touching, especially "Praise/Love" with its peaceful chords on top of which Jeremy Bolm screams out in heart-shattering desperation, and the two first Explosions in the Sky-esque post-rock instrumental thirds of "Non-Fiction", leading to its explosive and sorrowfully glorious climax/chorus.

Moreover, Is Survived By is as catchy as any indie rock or (good) emo record, but it comes with a few extras, including unmatched intensity, due to the vocals and the over-the-top inventive and agitated drumming, chaotic song structures and efficiency, due to the short duration of the album and the expeditious songs.

Jeremy's vocals are also stunning. They sound so painfully (and exquisitely) honest... His lyrics are also truly intimate: on the album he speaks about his quest for personal identity and artistic legacy. It sounds like a brutally sincere, but unsure attempt at self-affirmation: the way he often ends the songs, with one suspended last word or sentence, strongly reflect that uncertainty (not to be confused with hesitation, because he's definitely precise in what he tells).

Now, let's talk about the icing on the cake: what made me put the last weight on the scale and decide I liked this album more than their previous masterpiece. It emanates a lot of despair and uncertainty, but towards the two last songs, it fluidly shifts towards hope and, mostly, determination; just look at how "Steps" cleverly takes back the calm riff from "Non-Fiction" and turns it into positive melodic hardcore. Is Survived By takes you through almost excessive emotions, but manages to still make you feel great in the end.

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