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Entirely inconsistent, but actually not bad! - 70%

Zelkiiro, June 5th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Frontiers Records

The Murder of My Sweet are an obvious Within Temptation worship band, and with that you know what to expect: Very pop-oriented production and songwriting, liberal use of string keyboard effects, charming and charismatic female vocals, and weak guitar riffs. Their previous album, Bye Bye Lullaby, was an entirely forgettable affair save for a song or two, so my expectations for Beth Out of Hell were not exactly through the roof. Turns out the 3 years between albums was put to good use.

The Good:
As before, the production quality on this album is very high, with every instrument being clearly audible. Angelica Rylin again provides some excellent vocals. The keyboard orchestra effects are much more robust this time around, and there's now a huge choir backing up many of the main melodies, giving the album a much more dynamic and epic feel. THE GOOD SONGS ARE ACTUALLY STRAIGHT-UP GOOD!! "The Awakening" is pretty much the perfect pop opener, with infectious hooks and ambitious energy, filling the audience with plenty of anticipation for what's to come. Its follow-up, "World in Ashes," is a perfectly solid uptempo track that shifts into a slower, moodier chorus with effortless ease. "Always the Fugitive" is a pretty outstanding ballad in its own right, and the huge choir vocals complement the song's mournful tone perfectly. "The Humble Servant" likewise carries its majestic downtrodden tone like a badge of honor, and I'll be damned if it isn't effective. The main, middle section of "Requiem for a Ghost" has probably the best chorus the band has ever written, building to an intense crescendo of pop-metal goodness. The album's closer, "Means to an End," is outright excellent--a fantastic combination of original song and medley of the album's other best songs. These six songs I mentioned are worth the price of admission, if you ask me.

The Bad:
The guitar work, while miles ahead of the band's previous albums, is still wholly unimpressive. The lyrics are still unbearably cringe-inducing angel/demon dichotomy garbage, and will be the biggest obstacle to enjoying anything on this album. The drummer, Daniel Flores, has an increased vocal presence on this album, and...he's just not a good singer, like, at all. The good songs are the best the band have written, but the reverse is also true--the bad songs are among the worst they've written. "Bitter Love" and "Poets By Default" are both interminably slow and interminably awful, giving ballads everywhere a bad name. "Still" is a drab, nondescript mid-paced track that elicits no response whatsoever. And frankly, I can't remember any of the other tracks, so they're probably not worth checking out, either.

The Verdict:
This one's actually salvageable. A lot more effort went into the songwriting process this time around, and it shows. Maybe it's because the subject matter is more focused and freed up a lot of time? Regardless, this is definitely a worthy listen if you're a fan of this kind of poppy Within Temptation-worship gothic metal. Sure, it's not anywhere near perfect, but you could certainly do a lot worse.