Inked In Blood
Sometimes We Are Beautiful

I rather enjoyed this Christian metalcore band’s debut LP, Lay Waste the Poets, so I was looking forward to this follow up, but despite a solid attempt at some Life in Your Way/Misery Signals styled harmonics and shimmering guitar work, once again the curse of the clean vocals and commercial acceptability bring the album down considerably.

As much as I enjoyed some of the guitar work here, the second the clean croons start as early on as “Call to Arms”, their overly emo and whiny tones pretty much negate the often superb guitar work. And it’s not that I hate clean vocals, just look at Life in Your Way’s Waking Giants or bands like All That Remains and Killswitch Engage-they are well done and complement the music and harsh vocals. Here they either derail it (“Call to Arms”, “Angel of Lost Hopes”, “To Be Your One and Only”, “This Moment”) or come across as some awful, commercially driven, Fallout Boy, teen punk band (the horrid “Altars”-which is a shame as the ending choirs are pretty sweet). It reeks of mainstream satiation and sales rather than a natural, growth and it virtually ruins the otherwise decent music.

The riffs generally are on par with the likes of the afore mentioned Life In Your Way, Misery Signals, Rosesdead, Means and such, that’s to say layered, swelling, always shifting melodies and often truly rending sense of emotion. When not ruined by clean vocals, on a track like “Somewhere Familiar” or “In the Wake of Loss”, Inked in Blood are easily on par with their aforementioned peers with some just sumptuous, truly moving guitars, and even when the clean vocals do happen, they are understated and in the background.

The thing is closer “Paradise Gained”, a 9 ½ minute epic, with just a beautiful acoustic mid section (even with the clean vocals-but they ‘fit’ here), teases the listener with sheer metalcore brilliance to close the album, showing Inked In Blood have what is takes to be a top notch melodic metalcore act when trying not to signed by Victory Records.

Unfortunately, label mates A Plea For Purging’s debut blows this away and shows that you dont need clean vocals for great Christian metalcore.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 19th, 2007

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