Rise to Fall - End vs Beginning - (6/10)
Published on July 4, 2015
I reviewed Rise to Fall’s debut Restore the Balance some time ago, and it did anything but what the nomenclature promised. For a band trying to push the whole electronic metalcore angle ala Crossfaith, Silent Descent and Emergency Gate there is a disconcerting lack of synthetic overtones. What you get instead is fairly rote, glossy sixth-generation Gothenburg pandering holding onto the faintest outline of ostensible melodic death, lacking in both the exciting transitions and slicing aggression that is nominally exhibited by even the sparsest exemplars of the genre. That said, Rise to Fall have definitely managed to hone their craft (or whatever you want to call this) over time, upstaging both the flaccid debut and 2012’s Defying the Gods, so there are positives strewn about if one has the patience to mitigate the vapid thrust of the remainder of End vs Beginning.
An irrefutably flawed listen to be sure, and an exhausting one at that. End vs Beginning runs nearly an hour, featuring a Rage-number of full tracks at fifteen. Ironically, just like Wagner’s power metal institution, the level of quality is actually quite consistent, and this is one sector in which End vs Beginning supersedes its predecessors. Much of this album is competently-delivered melodic metalcore, injected with a pick-me-up of faux harshness in the form of machine gun double bass and distinct hooks. The fibrous and enchanting title track serves as a functional opener and makes this much obvious at the outset: Rise to Fall have dialed in their approach and rarely saunter in between lukewarm ideas like was commonplace on their earlier material. The synth is featured extensively, but hardly to the point of active annoyance. Most songs open with a catchy electronic blabber that locks into the verse structure and intertwines on the way to meaningful melodic returns.
Mellower tunes like “Rise Without Drama” sound like Skyfire meets Soilwork, two highly esteemed acts and a fusion worth exploring further. The guest vocals courtesy of Aimar Antxia make this song one of the individual highlights of this thing, and scream of the potential lurking withing this project as a whole. That said, there are definitely an equal number of moments wherein I found myself zoning out courtesy of the aforementioned “consistency” of the album. In fact, the same exact song seems to make multiple appearances, one which cranks up the aggression without the melodic equivalent to provide equal and opposite reaction. One of these examples is undoubtedly “Thunders of Emotions Beating,” which is loud, fast and boring. Conversely, End vs Beginning catches a second wind of sorts as it reaches its conclusion. The “Welcome to the Refuge” suite features an escalating verse structure and Scar Symmetry-esque refrain that should convert a few fence-sitters.
And as polished and refined a product as End vs Beginning is, it could still stand to use more keyboards to help counterpoint the ultra-melodic vocals as opposed to flippant and uneventful guitar progressions that halfheartedly inject vitriol at the eleventh hour to pass muster on a strictly metal level. In this regard, I don’t think that Rise to Fall will ever wholly satiate that bracket, so why not just pull a Crossfaith and have a blast with the tools given at your disposal? Save for a few burners like “Emptiness,” truly convincing guitar lines are unaccounted for, and this means that End vs Beginning is another album that I find a hard time recommending to those reading this review. If you can stomach highly melodic metalcore and get a kick out of flagrant electronics, this might be worth a spin or two. Rise to Fall were never really going anywhere, so I doubt many expectations will be crushed by this release. Honestly, the fact that the band is improving is worthy of some respect, so lets give Rise to Fall some reverence for delivering a listenable record in End vs Beginning.