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Write This Down [crobsession.tumblr.com],
This review is from: Write This Down (Audio CD)
One of Tooth & Nail's newest, Write This Down, is probably not what you would expect--they certainly surprised me with their self-titled debut on T&N Records. They've released a few EPs independently, but the production on this studio album has stepped up things up a few notches for this band. As far as their music goes, it's quite a diverse mixture, an element that causes them to differentiate themselves from other bands who stick to the formula of rock and do not stray far enough to be interesting. Let me explain.
The beginning of the album explodes via "Alarm the Alarm." Right away we hear screams, but they're in the background, leaving more room for the clean vocals to shine through. Unlike their independent release of the song, things are much more melodic in the chorus, and actually come across as quite catchy, despite their obvious metal influences. From there, the verses suddenly evolve into a pop-rock vibe, a curious transition. They pull it off without anything feeling uncomfortable in between, and turns out to be an extremely addictive track. We even see evidences of the band's faith in the line, "There is no other name by which I am saved/ I will not be afraid to trust in you."
Besides this brief moment, it gets a bit harder to identify any influences of the band's faith on the record. Write This Down has some fantastic songwriting, but their message often gets lost in the not-all-too-clear lyrics. They make several brief references to God on the album, but don't expect anything overly spiritual. None of this is to say that this makes the record any less of what it is. Probably the most powerful line in the album that speaks of God is in the song "Kings and Councilors" when they scream, "What can wash away your sins?/ Nothing but the blood." That this band can make music that is relatable to kids but still has has references to Jesus being the only way to salvation is an awesome thing that I really respect them for.
The second song holds a surprise for those who think Write This Down uses strictly electric guitars, or that they can't have soft moments in their songs. Even though "Despite Your Valor" probably contains more screaming than the song before it, it is also much more melodic, using acoustic guitars for the verses--I meant it when I said they were diverse. The song "Citadel" even uses a keyboard as the central instrument! Listening to a "Renegade" convinced me that Write This Down should be considered a heavy band (it being easily the heaviest track on the album), but I'm not sure what to call them anymore. The softest track, "Heaven and Hell," uses acoustic guitar through and through, and is actually quite beautiful. And despite all of these controversies, not one of these styles seems unnatural for this band. It's really something that you don't find pulled off successfully a whole lot, and it was really refreshing to hear.
While lead screamer Johnny Collier's vocals sometimes tend to sound monotonous, this is perfectly combated with Nate Rockwell's smooth, punk rock voice. Oftentimes, Collier's screams almost sound like a whole group of people screaming at the top of their lungs, making them ten times more powerful than your average metal vocals. Together, Collier and Rockwell make for a combination for metal fans and punk rock fans, creating a wide range for different fans with different tastes, something that will draw in a large crowd. Even before they were signed, Write This Down gained a reputation for an insane live show, and I can just picture songs like these live in all their glory.
I'd have to say that the band's first single, "Renegade," was a bit misleading. They weren't quite as heavy as I had expected them to be, and I have to say it was a pleasant surprise. Tooth & Nail continues to succeed in signing bands with amazing talent, and Write This Down is just one more to add to the lineup.