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A Toss-Up - 64%

Erin_Fox, October 28th, 2006

Trail Of Tears relies on astute riffing for the backbone of their sound, the huge guitar tones on this record being a testament to the importance said riffing holds in this seven piece. Mashing Mercyful Fate, Entombed and At The Gates is a job that Trail Of Tears takes seriously, employing tones that are eerie and shadowy with a suspenseful vibe.

On the ravaging “Carrier Of The Scars Of Life”, the group blends a super furious blasting pattern with a memorable, airy hook that bridge that song’s foreboding dynamic wanderings. It is during this track that Trail Of Tears show that they have matured into their own gritty, textured sound with grace. At different points in the song, “Frail Expectations” is splendorous and coarse, the piercing keyboard harmonies jutting out like wicked icicles in the midst of a hailstorm.

The biggest complaint about this record is that with so much going on, it can be quite difficult to sort out what is happening through the cacophonous din. Trail Of Tears can blast with the best around, but the band actually has enough members to keep those rhythms up while adding tint through accents and overlays. This is effective much of the time, but in the example of “Cold Hand Of Redemption” the technique can be a touch overbearing at times, taking away from the more melodic song parts a bit. You have to have a lot of respect for the album’s engineer, it must be more than difficult to have put so many sounds together in the first place and a majority of the time, the group blares through successfully.

Ultimately, Trail Of Tears come across as uncompromising and definitively furious in the manner in which they approach the songs which grace this album. The group is surely trying to be different and their collective originality scores them much more praise than the performance of any one musician on “Free Fall Into Fear.”