Fallstar – Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter

I have a love/hate thing with Come & Live Records. I love the label and what they stand for. I love that they offer their music for free and I hate picking on them or saying negative things because they do great work as a label and Chad Johnson did run my favorite label, Takehold Records.

But unlike Takehold, which released nothing but killer music, Come & Live is hit or miss with me. And hit or miss is how’d I’d describe the label’s latest band Fallstar’s debut full-length.

It’s not fair to call Fallstar just another metalcore band. There just aren’t enough “metal” influences in the bands sound. Not to say that Fallstar doesn’t have it’s heavy moments but they always seem to be hardcore influenced or some some variation on the Devil Wears Prada.

Side note: I understand that older music fans will argue that this is metalcore. I understand that Fallstar (as well as the Devil Wears Prada) fall under the genre more commonly refered to as Screamo but anything that is a hybrid variation on Underoath I’m calling metalcore. Zao is no longer the metalcore standard. It’s sad but true.

The album starts with Hunters, a track that had my interested briefly as the guitar intro led into a meaty breakdown with some solid hardcore vocals. But I was quickly turned away as the clean vocals came in (ruining my hope for a hardcore record). What strikes me as odd is the interplay between the clean and screamed vocals. On Hunters the clean vocals sweep in very reminiscint of As Cities Burn, but the hardcore growls that came before the clean vocals really create an odd balance.

Which is probably my biggest issue with the album. The screamed vocals are so inconsistent and directionless that it makes it hard to listen to. Chris Ratzlaff’s vocals are all over the place. Early in the record he’s pretty consistent with the deep gutteral growls but at times he goes for the hight pitched screams, that don’t really work, and there are moments when he goes for a Daniel Weyandt type sound.

That’s not to say Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter is all bad. Black Clouds and Drunkaholics Anonymous are solid songs. ANd I can admit that I’m not Fallstar’s target audience. If you’re a fan of TDWP or Rise Records bands, this is an album to check out. It’s a decent debut but the band is playing in a scene that’s already over crowded and I don’t know if Fallstar stands out enough to make a splash. They don’t for my ears.

You can download the record for free at http://comeandlive.com/downloads/


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