Standard Emo Fare
The post hardcore band, A Skylit Drive, released their first album as a trio, after two of their former members departed the band. Maybe that is why the band has decided to release a stripped down version of their 2013 album Rise. This time they have called it Rise: Ascension.
The acoustic arrangements of the songs highlight the strength their musical compositions: from the dark string arrangements of “Just Stay” to the stark picking style of “Pendulum”, the stripped down guitars showcase their talent.
The vocals of lead singer Michael Jagmin are similarly impressive. His voice is powerful and agile, as he’s able to slide from one note to the next. Although, he sometimes slips onto a sharp and nasally pitch; while the band and their producer, Cameron Mizell, tend to use too much autotune in places. In spite of this, Jagmin rises above the standard emo Warped Tour mediocrity of his peers in the vocal department.
Where he doesn’t rise above them, however, is in the lyrics department. When asked how he writes the lyrics for his songs, Jagmin said that he tries to write them “honestly, just about what the song makes me think about.” His lyrics are about as simplistic and eloquent as that. A prime example of this is off the second track on the album, “Unbreakable,” where the chorus goes: “Can’t you see / That you are killing me? / Let me be, / I only wanna be free / I’ll make a noise so loud / That across the world you’ll hear it.” Perhaps it’s because of the genre that the band inhabits that these lyrics come off as cliché. If Metallica or The 1975 were singing them, they might be heralded as introspective. But here in the post-hardcore emo world they just come off as whiny.
In truth, this is just a good album. An album that could get a band like this on Warped Tour, maybe not the main stage. But the tour, nonetheless. In the end, it’s just standard emo fare.