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The Fall Of Troy Manipulator

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01. Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them 02. The Dark Trail 03. Quarter Past 04. Problem!? 05. Semi-Fiction 06. Oh! The Casino! 07. Sledgehammer 08. Seattlantis 09. Ex-Creations 10. Shhh!!! If You're Quiet, I'll Show You a Dinosaur 11. Caught Up 12. A Man. A Plan. A Canal. Panama.
2007 Equal Vision Records
Our score 6

by Nick
8/6/2007

The Fall of Troy's strong presence in the post hardcore world has been undeniable over the last few years, especially with the sophomore success of Doppelganger, a disc that combined prog-rock, post hardcore and pop melodies in a manner that caused even a few metal and hardcore purists to take notice. Now, with their third release comes an album bent on pushing the limits and blurring the lines between discernable genres and conventions. In that sense, Manipulator lives up to the hype, but somehow their great desire to expand their musical scope unfortunately muddled their distinctive and clever songwriting approach of old. But don't get the impression that Manipulator is a complete miss. Fans of the band will still find a lot to enjoy about the disc since the band's trademark guitar work and song structures still make up much of its content. The album's opener, "Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them," is a perfect example of the Fall of Troy's already proven musical recipe, as displayed when the catchy little number with rolling bass work and fast riffing builds into a well-placed pseudo-breakdown accompanied by screamed vocals. "Ex-Creations" is another shining track, as a brief melodic intro turns into a dizzying array of swirling guitar work and start-and-stop rhythms. And what's that A few blast beats got thrown in there too Neato. But then there's the misses, and by golly do they stand out. It's impossible to go more than a track or two without hearing some brutally painful vocals, as someone apparently gave Thomas Erak the green light to explore a vocal range that never really existed in the first place. I can feel even the Blood Brothers covering their ears in response to the high-pitch yelping in "The Dark Trail." And then there's "Quarter Past," a song that ultimately redeems itself with an extremely catchy chorus, but not before the listener has to put up with some awkward amalgamation of the Mars Volta, lounge music, and a hint of Tina Turner attitude. Oh, and the snails-paced, On Broken Wings-esque breakdown at the end of the otherwise excellent track, "Sledgehammer," is frustratingly predictable and overdone. And don't forget "Oh! The Casino!," a song with a verse that is strangely reminiscent of (watch me as I now throw my credibility completely out the window) Rufio's "One Slow Dance." I'm all about new musical territories and combinations of genres, but some of the content on this disc just shouldn't have made it beyond the demo stage. The vocal production on Manipulator is also a bit lacking, as the singing and screaming are far from equal in the mix. The result overly prominent clean vocals (many of which need absolutely no emphasis whatsoever) accompanied by screams that often feel extremely hollow and out of place. I have no complaints about the rest of the production since the extremely wide range of tones and styles are captured well throughout the disc, but man, I just wish someone would have taken the three seconds to even out those vocals. Bottom Line: I'm still of the opinion that the current music scene needs more bands like the Fall of Troy: bands willing to push the envelope and explore uncharted musical waters. Unfortunately, not every progressive and experimental disc is going to be a bull's-eye. There's a lot to like about Manipulator, and a lot to respect in its innovative mentality, but sadly, there are just too many steps in the wrong direction for this to be the progressive post hardcore disc for which I was hoping. Fans should still check this out, and although this disc is by no means a reason to abandon the Fall of Troy ship, it is simply a bit of a letdown.

Comments (26) post new comment
arty_mcfarty_ 8/6/2007 9:18:43 AM

first post!!!!!!!!


qwerty_ 8/6/2007 10:58:02 AM

shut up.


kyriakos_ 8/6/2007 11:00:58 AM

mediocre


anonymous 8/6/2007 11:29:43 AM

Band has progressed amazingly. Your blind if you don't see the clever songwriting. The vocals here and there were the only weak points. Good disc and great follow up. f*ck.


anonymous 8/6/2007 12:11:33 PM

Really I should hate this band, but I think they're alright. Doppleganger was better than this though


din_ 8/6/2007 1:36:39 PM

Pretty good disc. The vocals do suck sometimes.


Fur_Beach_ 8/6/2007 2:16:32 PM

meh, they keep getting worse. The ghostship demos and s/t were the best things they had going for them


ugh_ 8/6/2007 2:19:40 PM

the vocals are an embarrassment now, despite everything else in the band progressing. someone needs to politely ask this guy to stop singing.


TheWood_ 8/6/2007 2:56:04 PM

Bring back 30 Years War.


hxcobd_ 8/6/2007 3:27:44 PM

Sadly, I agree with this review so f*cking hard. The vocals on this album sound absolutely terrible. f*cking horrendous production. The handful of good songs are countered by a handful of really f*cking lame ones. They better keep on the path they went down for Doppelganger for the next album.


Cory_ 8/6/2007 3:50:30 PM

"especially with the sophomoric success of Doppelganger" let's not use words if we don't understand their meaning.


brian_ 8/6/2007 4:03:43 PM

this cd is really good, it just takes a while to get used to. but once you do, its totally worth it, ive been jerking off to this for months now.


patrick_ 8/6/2007 5:02:26 PM

wrong use of the word "sophomoric". please correct as this is hard to look at.


Nick_ 8/6/2007 5:40:21 PM

Main Entry: sophomoric Function: adjective 1 : conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature (a sophomoric argument) 2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a sophomore (sophomoric humor)..................... the second definition works. thanks.


Nick_ 8/6/2007 5:52:41 PM

I take that back, you win Cory.


redandblackink_ 8/6/2007 8:18:40 PM

i was going to comment on "sophomoric," but cory and some other dude already got to it. i hate it when people try to look smarter than they are.


anonymous 8/6/2007 8:30:16 PM

*predicts a dozen more worthless comments about writing errors*


anonymous 8/6/2007 11:06:50 PM

lol @ "sophomoric success"


Cory_ 8/6/2007 11:37:24 PM

I decided to fix the usage error instead of continuing to be a dick about it. Sorry.


bullshitbuffet_ 8/7/2007 2:13:13 PM

I agree with this 100%. Great review Nick


nergal_ 8/7/2007 5:49:30 PM

Main Entry: sophomoric Function: adjective 1 : conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature. An apt decription of Cory.


myballs_ 8/9/2007 12:38:26 AM

Worst album I have ever listened to.


Fuckrod Dickblast_ 8/9/2007 6:41:25 PM

"Sadly, I agree with this review so f*cking hard. The vocals on this album sound absolutely terrible. f*cking horrendous production. The handful of good songs are countered by a handful of really f*cking lame ones. They better keep on the path they went down for Doppelganger for the next album." <----- I totally concur.


chas_ 9/24/2007 4:42:07 PM

ahh malarky. oh the casino and sledgehammer are the best songs on the album. i think the band is maturing and definately made an excellent record. to be playing guitar the way he does, and hit the vocal range he is achieving...is a feat that will not be reckoned with.


Lolcat_ 9/17/2008 3:38:28 PM

A bit of a letdown but still one a great band. AMAPACP makes it all worth it in my eyes.


anonymous 12/10/2010 8:03:48 PM

worst f*cking shit band ever created