The Fall of Troy by The Fall Of Troy (Review)

This CD surpassed any preconceptions I had concerning how a hardcore band should play or operate.
The Fall of Troy

Simone Weil once wrote “I cannot conceive the necessity for God to love me… But I can easily imagine that He loves that perspective of creation which can only be seen from the point where I am.” That quote pretty much sums up why I write these reviews, why I run Opus. I’m certainly no musical pundit, although I may have areas where I’m a bit more knowledgable than the average Joe. All I can do is offer a perspective on the music that crosses my path, and in the case of The Fall of Troy, I think I can offer a fairly unique one.

I don’t say that egotistically, but rather matter-of-factly. The Fall of Troy has been gaining quite a bit of acclaim in the hardcore/metalcore music circles. However, hardcore is one of those musical genres of which I possess rather limited knowledge. I’ve bought a couple of CDs, enjoyed a few shows, and can throw out the names of some influential bands, but I’m still pretty naïve.

In fact, in my naïveté I probably committed some faux pas by even deigning to mention words like “hardcore” or “metalcore” in relation to The Fall of Troy. For all I know, they actually belong to some subgenre of hardcore that I haven’t even heard of. Which would make sense, because this CD surpassed any preconceptions I had concerning how a hardcore band should play or operate.

I’ll admit to some skepticism when I first popped in the CD. I had a fairly good idea of what to expect; punishing rhythms, brutal guitar attacks, angst-fuelled lyrics, and a vocalist fully intent on puking up his vocal chords with each scream. And at first listen — *sigh* — that’s exactly what I seemed to have here. Sure, The Fall of Troy were considerably crazier and more spastic than your typical hardcore band — they sounded like they were literally ricocheting off the studio’s walls while they were laying down these tracks — but I was fully prepared to move on to the next disc in my queue.

However, something kept me listening. I began hearing things that I just didn’t expect. Things like echoing guitar tones that sounded like they came straight from an Out Hud song, drumming that made Don Caballero sound merely 4/4 by comparison, tempos and speeds changing on a dime, and most of all, an insidious melodicism that gave a curious pop appeal to even the disc’s most screamo-y moments.

There were flashes of brilliance so intense they were blinding, but as a whole, the album remained somewhat frustrating. Tracks like “Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles” and “The Last March Of The Ents” were blistering enough to peel the paint off my living room walls (and probably alarm my neighbors). But still, I wasn’t sold. I still wasn’t completely convinced that the CD wasn’t just another case of a band with an obvious Dillinger Escape Plan-and-Locust fetish trying to prove that they too could be loud and kuh-razy.

And then came a bolt from the blue, a flash so brilliant that it revealed, in stark detail, just how amazing this CD truly was. It came in the form of “F.C.P.S.I.T.S.G.E.P.G.E.P.G.E.P.” (another one of the disc’s many creative titles). In that one track, all of the band’s disparate sounds (hardcore, prog, metal, post-punk, emo, jazz) suddenly collapsed into place, and the result has remained lodged inside my head ever since.

Starting off with brittle, jittery guitars (again, think Out Hud — or perhaps The Rapture), the song begins in a rush of fluid, rubbery bass and drumming so off-kilter the drummer sounds like he’s in the midst of a grand mal seizure. The vocalist spits and gasps out lyrics like “Your mind is running outta gas/Just relax and recap and relapse tonight.”.. right before the chorus explodes in a torrent of screams (“Come running home!”) and pummelling drums. Yearning guitar notes soar overhead like contrails, echoing the chorus’ emotional heft. And yet, amidst the craziness, the song never loses its catchiness, often getting downright funky thanks to the bassline, which anchors and grooves the song perfectly.

After that one track, I heard the rest of the album in a brand new light. I heard things I didn’t hear before, or began hearing them in ways I had not expected. There’s an artfulness to The Fall of Troy that I did not at all expect, emerging in startling detail when contrasted by the sheer chaos that the band revels in. A crushing sense of beauty rises from the twisted wreckage, be it in the way the intro to “I Just Got This Symphony Goin’ ” barrels along like the craziest of trains, in the punishing breakdown of “Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles,” or in the climactic wall of sound and anguished voices that eventually overwhelms “What Sound Does A Mastodon Make?.”

This band literally transcended any expectations or preconceptions I had, effectively leaping over the constraints of their genre to craft something that literally handed me my ass on a plate. I’m not sure how many people within the hardcore scene truly appreciate how astonishing that is, but for someone coming at the album from a different perspective — me — it was nothing short of a revelation.

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