review published: 8/14/2016
Amnesty Please are a metalcore band from Birmingham, AL and Decisions is the group's first record.
Amnesty Please define themselves as "melodic metalcore," but don't let that label turn you off – they have much more to offer than most bands of that ilk. The opening into and subsequent title track marry a clean guitar intro with a moshable heavy riff. The song snakes its way through sections led by a dual vocal attack from Amnesty Please's singer, Micah Rector, and guest vocalist, Matt Childers, creating a back and forth between one's higher pitched yell and the other's lower growl. While "Decisions" isn't really anything more than metalcore riffing anchored by a guitar lead, it never comes across as generic. "Plastic Hotels" follows suit, while "Winter Clothes" draws more upon the group's hardcore influences with its upbeat and frenetic first half. The track eventually decelerates into a heavy breakdown before closing on an atmospheric riff.
"Gutless" and "Collecting Dust" tend to lean more towards the djent side of things with their Meshuggah-esque off-kilter riffs. The former sticks to the basics while the latter incorporates some interesting subtleties. "Collecting Dust" commences with your typical dissonant, palm-muted riff, but halfway through takes on a completely different sound. The clean vocals provide a melodic feel, bringing to mind something along the lines of Dredg. The combination works well, creating a nice contrast to the music's heavier side.
"Seven And Severed" is the record's single and certainly the most quintessential metalcore track on Decisions. With its predictable structure and cleanly sung melodic sections, it comes off as not only the most approachable song but also the most generic. Originality shortcomings aside, the song does nicely demonstrate the vocalist's ability to jump between styles. He has a higher pitched wail, a lower scream and multiple styles of singing, something that provides this record with an extra dynamic througought its duration.
The second half of Decisions takes a turn from its impressive first half. "Collapse" and "I Am Sorry Every Day" are solid metalcore songs but don't offer much otherwise. "Better Off" is one of the more intriguing songs on the record. It begins with a 90s alternative rock sounding section, complete with a grunge-inspired vocal melody before transitioning into a heavier section. Here the vocal stylings resemble that of Linkin Park – a comparison that grows via a spoken word section that one can't help but compare to said band's rap vocals.
Ironically, given its title, Decisions ends with an unnecessary acoustic song, one that would have served better as a bonus or hidden track. While the track itself isn't bad, its expendability does more harm than good, ensuring that the album ends not with a bang, but a whimper.
Bottom Line: Decisions is a good example of a modern metalcore record with a little thought and innovation behind it. Drawing from a wide array of influences, Amnesty Please are able to extricate themselves from the genre's confines and craft an interesting record.
Track Listing: 01. Two Years 02. Decisions 03. Plastic Hotels 04. Winter Clothes 05. Gutless 06. Collecting Dust 07. Seven and Severed 08. Collapse 09. I Am Sorry Everyday 10. Letting Go 11. Better Off 12. Hourglass