This Or The Apocalypse

While I enjoyed Misery Signal’s recent Controller effort, I have to admit the debut from this Lancaster, PA act stole some of that album’s thunder by delivering a very similar and almost as competent delivery of melodic, layered and emotional metalcore.

While bands like It Prevails, Rosesdead and more recently November 5, 1955 have tried to capture the same level of draining, evocative melodies and shimmering, angular heft that only Life In Your Way, Misery Signals and to a more extreme extent, Shai Hulud have truly perfected, but TOTA certainly give it a solid go with successful results, especially in the album’s later stages.

As with their peers, Monuments isn’t about singles or choruses but busily crafted layers of guitars that cascade and tumble with a tangible emotional heft and sense of harmonic urgency and pained, vocal angst that never veers into whiny or emo realms. I’ll even admit, it took a few listens to fully get into the album, and try to not merely pass it off as a Misery Signals clone, which is certainly a viable opinion. Early in the album, opener “No Horizons”, the mid point of “Two Wars” and killer “Geist” certainly evoke strong memories Of Malice and the Magnum Heart then after a handful of enjoyable but rather samey songs that strain at their melodic seams and stutter with passion, the albums last two cuts really end the album with purpose.

After the obligatory instrumental interlude “Memento Mori”, TOTA unleash “Mauna Kea” a perfect blend of slicing dramatics and urgent, layered harmonies that peak with a stern impassioned rumble at the 2:38 mark. Then they close with “Elegiac” which features some perfect if short lived metalcore riffage at 0:40 and again 2:38 with some superb soloing at 1:39 and a dramatic, soaring peak and acoustic come down to end the album with a nice climax that stays with you, something not many metalcore albums have done in 2008.

If you can get over the Misery Signals clone aura, TOTA are on to something and despite their obvious influences, bring a fresh and energetic, if familiar feel to melodic metalcore.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 22nd, 2008


  1. Commented by: swampthang

    hate this band their so boring

  2. Commented by: Kyle

    Great band name but if they sound like Misery Signals I’ll pass. If I want professional whining I’ll do it myself.

  3. Commented by: vegard

    “strong memories Of Malice and the Magnum Heart”

    SOLD! i still think that album was the best MS has done.

  4. Commented by: kkiernan

    MONUMENTS is a great album, excellent work TOTA

Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Carrion Throne - The Feast of Human Vices EP
  • Kittie - Fire
  • Mad Hatter - Oneironautics
  • Serement - Abhorrent Invocations
  • Limbonic Art - Opus Daemoniacal
  • Bloodcross - Gravebound
  • Sentiment Dissolve - The Orwellian Dream
  • Replacire - The Center That Cannot Hold
  • Wormwood - The Star
  • Cavalera - Schizophrenia
  • Gatecreeper - Dark Superstition
  • Henry Kane - Circle of Pain
  • Grand Demise of Civilization - The Blaze of Abaddon
  • Anthropophagus Depravity - Demonic Paradise
  • Downcross - White Tower