02. Man or Animal
03. Never Say Never
04. …Of a Man
06. My Gun, Your Bullets
07. True False
09. Awakening of the Forgotten
10. When Breath Escapes
2003 Facedown Records
After listening to this album countless times, there’s still not much to say about Sinai Beach. Like The Comeback Kid, I heard about this band through a Facedown sampler and was genuinely interested in them. However, I was fairly disappointed when I actually got to listen to this record in full. The sludgy guitars, the snare tuned way too tight, the slightly distorted growls – I’ve got to admit that I’ve heard this type of generic metalcore played out too much and too poorly as of late to have the patience for another version of “Until the Ink Runs Out.” I’m not saying that Sinai Beach is ripping off Eighteen Visions, nor am I saying that this is the only band to compare them to. Personally, I couldn’t care less if Sinai Beach had really epitomized this sound a few years ago instead of 18v, and I was reviewing some other band that seemed to mimic “When Breath Escapes.” My point is that this sound has been worn too thin, and honestly, I think this record is sub-par at best.
But it’s not just the sludgy sound overall that gets to me with this album; it’s the Christian overtones. While some bands are specifically lumped into “Christian metal” due to their connections with a religious scene (Zao, Demon Hunter, Stretch Arm Strong), others tend to hit you with it after you’ve already bought the record. There’s nothing on the outside that gives it away that Sinai Beach is a “religious” band, but once you find the lyric sheets, it all starts to go downhill. Like a bad edge band with trite sing-alongsthat no one can really take seriously, Sinai Beach make it hard to appreciate just what it is the singer is trying to get across. Sadly, frontman Courtney Alderson really does have some good things to say, and his lyrics can be quite engaging, but an overabundance of needless religiosity is thrown into almost every song.
I hate bashing a record as well-produced and well-intentioned as this, especially since Sinai Beach has a lot more to offer than an overdone, sludgy, “brutal assault” mixed with religious banter, wimpy melodic parts, and pretty atrocious “singing,” but until they prove themselves otherwise, I’d have to say that this album isn’t worth picking up unless you don’t mind and/or are able to ignore the off-putting aspects of this CD. And if you somehow can stand the aforementioned negative aspects of this album, I imagine the cheesy layout (even worse than your average “album cover/disc splattered with blood” design, though that’s not completely missing from the artwork either…) is no big deal in comparison to everything else.
Bottom Line: “When Breath Escapes” isn’t worth much more than a single listen. The emotion it wishes to stir is smothered by too many other intolerable traits, and the genre Sinai Beach was shooting for is far too played out as it is.