By Andrew Beam
As Thomas Erak professes, “I fucking hate myself,” in the opening track of their brand new album, the tone has been set for what is to come. The Fall of Troy is ready to change things around.
When progressive/hardcore band The Fall of Troy released Manipulator in 2007, it was pegged as an absolute failure by fans and critics. There will be some who will blame it on the fact that it wasn’t the sequel to their 2005 release, Doppelganger, in the sense that it wasn’t heavy enough. There will be others who will say that it was due to the awful production quality as it sounded like no one cared at all when it came to mixing the album. The Fall of Troy themselves, will blame it on the fact that they were rushed and did not have enough fun making the album. Regardless, Manipulator was a huge let down in the eyes of many.
Now, it is 2009 and the trio from Mukilteo, Washington is prepared to make a boisterous comeback that will make fans wish they had never wrote them off in the first place. In the Unlikely Event is an album that is fully produced and is filled with a mixture of blues, a tinge of metal, punk, and some familiar guitar thrashing performed by lead singer and lead guitarist, Thomas Erak.
What is missing from the original line up is former bassist Tim Ward. After basically referring to him as dead weight, the band went into the recording with fresh legs as they recruited Frank Ene on bass. Bringing a little bit more funk than what Ward had usually provided, Ene is a much needed addition to their formula as he enhances tracks like “Empty the Clip, the King Has Been Slain, Long Live the Queen,” where he walks his bass along the chorus, “People and Their Lives”, a track that shows Ene giving his instrument a motor like sound, as well as providing back up vocals on the jumpy “Single”, a quality that has never been featured on a Fall of Troy album before.
Yes, it seems that everything has fallen into place nicely for Erak and drummer Andrew Forsman and they are able to capitalize on the moment. This still is not the album that the heavier-loving Fall of Troy fans are looking for, but it is an album that shows a musical progression that most should give up their stubbornness to appreciate.
The first three tracks could leave most listeners out of breath as they recall the ferocity of Doppelganger, but still have a much more melodic characteristic that shows the maturity the band has been professing to everyone. “Panic Attack” is a frantic track about the many panic attacks Erak suffered during the recording of the album. The guitars are dropped down, heavy, and Erak still brings the scream that most fans are looking for. It transitions smoothly into “Straight-Jacket Kneehauled”, a brutal, almost metal-like track that finds Erak squealing through most of the track. Then to end the onslaught is the song “Battleship Graveyard” that finds the band at their most comfortable position with a melodic song that goes through a few spastic fits.
What is also very evident is the improved pipes on Erak, as he prides himself in being self taught when it comes to singing. He flexes his polished vocals on songs like “Single”, down-beat “Webs”, and surprisingly pulls out a little falsetto in the radio-friendly sounding “Nobody’s Perfect”, well, that is until it ends in a spooky tantrum.
The high point of the disc is reached during the wiry “Dirty Pillow Talk” as Erak’s guitar stylings borrow a tip from Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame. To compliment, Protest the Hero’s Rody Walker makes a guest appearance in the song as he screams, “Slow down/You’re going to hurt yourself child.” This song has an interesting back storr as Walker was kidnapped by Erak in a van outside of the venue in which Walker was playing at. This interesting story just adds to the all ready outstanding track.
Success would be the word for The Fall of Troy for releasing In The Unlikely Event, as the band has made up for all their faults from the previous release, Manipulator. Even though the band claims they don’t care what anyone thinks and make music for themselves, it is hard not to think the band was at least thinking of the criticism they received from their last album. In The Unlikely Event takes those blemishes and improves on many of them with this release.