It was certainly not exaggerated to pin big hopes on IT DIES TODAY and when it became known that the band had signed with Trustkill Records, the expectations became additionally bigger only due to this reason. As was shown by the past years, this label has produced highlights of the Hard- and Metalcore genre only. Furthermore the debut “Forever Scorned” (2002) with six tracks released via Life Sentence Records was very promising. However “The Caitiff Choir” by far exceeds all expectations and even the most daring prognosis barely does justice to the songs performed here. To cut it short, IT DIES TODAY managed to strike a sweeping blow that even surpasses bands like UNEARTH, EIGHTEEN VISIONS, ATREYU, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE or SHADOWS FALL.
The five musicians hailing from Buffalo don’t need to fear comparisons to other representatives of the genre anyway, because “The Caitiff Choir” has just turned out too overwhelming for that and defies them already at the start. The new masterpiece continues the path chosen with the debut, yet it differs heavily from the old compositions. It is up to you if you see this as a natural process of maturing or as an ordinary evolution. The principal difference of the new songs is first of all, that they focused attention on melodic accents, be it vocally or musically. In a way these accents can be traced back to the line-up changes. Steve Lemke buckled on the bass instead of the guitar, former bassist Seth Thompson left the band and in Mike Hatalak they got the necessary reinforcement on guitars and thus closed the gap perfectly.
To not put the musical evolution too far to the fore at the beginning, IT DIES TODAY have chosen a brutish opening track which tears off your head in the guise of “My Promise”. Thus “The Caitiff Choir” is an almost seamless follow-up of “Forever Scorned” and lets it rip monstrously at the beginning already. Extremely heavy riffs grind the auditory center, desperate howling implies big frustration with the frontman and the uncompromising interaction of hammering bass sounds and filigrees like powerful drumming quickly make it clear that this band wants it all. Simply breathtaking, including mean brutal breakdowns. With “Severed Ties Yield Severed Heads” they inject beautiful melodies for the first time and vocalist Nick Brooks overwhelms the listener with grandiose clear vocal passages.
From this moment on much is different from what you were used to from the debut and especially in these moments it becomes obvious that “The Caitiff Choir” doesn’t equal a hasty release in any way, but that they have been composing with huge dedication during the last two years. With IT DIES TODAY, the saying “opposites attract” hits the nail that is cited so often on the head. But “The Radiance” already shows that the band has even more surprises up their sleeves, because the portion of melodic parts is once again increased here, and if you didn’t know exactly that a Metalcore band is playing here, you would almost be tempted to label this song a moving New Metal anthem. Already after the first audio attack the chorus doesn’t leave your head anymore and thus the Americans walk through that many emotions in only three songs that your flesh crawls with excitement. With “The Depravity Waltz” they stop being comfortable and shift into the next gear in terms of heaviness. Arranged complexly and shockingly thick, this track rolls over you without hesitation. “A Threnody For Modern Romance” seduces the listener with seemingly Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal riffs and once again it becomes clear that IT DOES TODAY have more Metal in their blood and show this quite frankly. In terms of pleasure to play and dynamics, nothing can be improved here.
„Marigold“ can also be called an epic killer track, for the piercing vocals are to the fore here as well. The mourning chants wind smoothly around the highly technical music before the full load of Metal is hit over your head again in “Freak Gasoline Fight Accident”. The heavily grooving mosh parts in the middle part and at the end of the song are blessed and make the diversity of IT DIES TODAY shine in full splendour again. It’s the same with “The Caitiff Choir: Revelations” and even in a thousand years you don’t think of boredom. It’s quite astounding, for even towards the album’s end, the quintet doesn’t lack ideas. The suspense is maintained, the curiosity for the next track remains untroubled and immediately it goes on expertly like that with “Our Disintegration”. Again razor-sharp guitars dominate the scenery and even the tightest Swedish lead of death bands a la AT THE GATES or DARK TRANQUILLITY may be quoted from and used as influences. “Naenia” begins almost rocking and it can be seen as an almost melancholic anthem of this band. Only short heavy rides dominate this melodic ear-wig and before you are aware of it, you have reached the end of one of the greatest albums of this year in “The Caitiff Choir: Defeatism”, a momentous box on the ear.
And thus one thing is certain and irrevocable, because another Metalcore band (not to be understood in a negative way) has turned into an outstanding band which has to be taken really seriously and which can compete with any formation from this genre, no matter how much it is praised. Those who classify the quite obvious evolution as a commercial change of direction, probably haven’t listened carefully and should thus be condemned to absorbing this milestone another ten times before they will be allowed to judge IT DIES TODAY. “The Caitiff Choir” does justice to any superlatives down to the smallest detail and it leaves the reviewer numb with enthusiasm. Fantastic!!! (Online November 19, 2004)