Kingston Falls
Armada On Mercury

Sheesh-I must be getting soft in my old age with the likes of Protest the Hero, Eyes Set To Kill, November 5, 1955, Bury Your Dead and this unassuming yet highly addictive release from Kingston Falls recently getting more airplay than the likes of excellent releases from the likes of Origin, Azaghal and Leviathan.

Named after the town in the Gremlins movies, Indiana’ s Kingston Falls deliver a incredibly palatable Christian based form of punk, rock and screamo/melodic metalcore, and while this sort of highly commercial, peppy stuff would generally make me sick, there’s something on this album that makes me come back for more, and more; To the point where I have literally listened to this album for a week straight at work. Why, you ask? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the truly soaring and clean vocals and choruses. Maybe it’s the stupidly infectious, catchy, verse/chorus/verse gait yet still metal riffs and solos. Maybe it’s the uplifting nature of the lyrics and music that give me a break from my usual spikes ‘n’ skulls overload. Either way, I’ve coined it ‘happy-go-god’ core or ‘gosplecore’ and there’s something about Armada on Mercury I really, really enjoy, and will continue to enjoy for a long time to come.

The fact is Kingston Falls have IT. IT being the ability to pen riffs and structures that just instantly hook you, reel you in and stay with you. After orchestral opener of “The Christening” the title track delivers a huge, soaring chorus that opens the emotional floodgates for the rest of the album. “To Cold for Hot Feet” is a poppy punk number that has arguably one of the albums catchiest moments in its post chorus riff, and THEN you get possibly my favorite track of the whole album in “On Contentment”, which has a chorus to die for assuming your are not a hate everything, self loathing, death metal only ape; (“Whatever happened to peace and justice? Whatever happened to honesty? There’s no time for complaining when you’re intent on living free. Whatever happened to love and kindness? Whatever happened to charity? There’s still time for forgiveness when you’re intent on unity. Life’s largest blessings are beyond reason. Put yourself aside and bring someone to life.”). Not overly preachy, convert or die or dramatic just positive and respectfully thought provoking for the more open minded fan.

The rest of the album pretty much follows suite with its combination of galloping metalcore-lite and pop punk prose, with all tracks having some form foot tapping, hum a long moments. The vocals are a mix of typical metalcore screams and fluid, yet un-whiny clean vocals and choruses except for “Freakin’ eXtreme!”, which mixes things up with a pure punk vocal and musical delivery more akin to Bane or Bad Religion. But on the whole, it’s no more or less metal than Killswitch Engage in the vocal department, while riffs and solos on the likes of “The Great Divide”, “The Illusionist’s Dream”, “Curse of Might”, “Sand Castle Karma” and closer “Too Bad About Your Situation” (which ends with an epic resprise of the orchestral intro) all deliver hook filled excellence, no matter how hard your evil metal alter ego tries to resist.

I truly thought Life In Your Way’s Waking Giants was the most positive and uplifting metal album I had heard, but with Armada on Mercury being less complex, layered and more simple, catchy and downright addictive, yet another band has me teetering on the edge on a religious awakening.

Not. But you get the idea-if God ever rocked out, he would rock out to this.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 27th, 2008


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