There is nothing wrong with a band desiring to expand their sound. Most that do grow and mature to develop a unique sound that they can lay claim to without alienating their grassroots fans. But there is such a thing as pushing too many boundaries. The decision to explore different styles can open Pandora’s box, resulting in chaos and confusion. That chaos is exemplified by The Crimson Armada’s sophomore effort Conviction, which is nothing more than a buffet of styles set to give anyone an upset stomach.
Taking a step backward form their highly-acclaimed debut Guardians, The Crimson Armada have shamelessly borrowed elements from modern styles of metal and embarrassed themselves with the results. The album opens with the track title, a decidedly unoriginal-yet-mosh-worthy first track. The very next track “Juggernaut” is a lapse back to the melodic death metal remnants of Guardians, and while it is perhaps the heaviest song on the album, the likes of it are never heard again, as if it was placed there by accident.
On top of that are cleanly-sung choruses, heard in tracks like “Questioning God”, courtesy of Brandon McMaster (formerly of Sleeping with Sirens). In some of the tracks like “Composed of Stone”, the lyrics are spoken out in an Emmure-type feel, and the list goes on and on: eerie synths, piano outros, the usual melodic break track (in this case, “Relief”). It’s a combination that mixes like oil and water, and yet they’re all forced upon each other. Indeed, it seems like the ones lacking conviction are The Crimson Armada, writing songs in what could only be attention-deficit-disorder fashion.
As a Christian band, the lyrics are forthright and honest, involving calls for forgiveness and for love towards one another. At other points, they’re blunt, tacky threats (“I’ll put the fear of God back in you!”) This only furthers the confusion, and fails to set a tone for the mood of the album as a whole.
Simply utilizing every generic trick in the book, including the cheesy gang vocals, boring breakdowns, bland low-tuned guitar riffs and heartless choruses, The Crimson Armada’s new album has very little to offer. In an over-saturated realm of metal bands, it takes a lot more than mixing styles to stand out. While Conviction isn’t all horrible (the softer parts of the production demonstrate Saud's ability to compose well), it fails to do justice to the bands that have stuck to one style and done it well. Of course, lineup changes will always result in added influences on a band, but hopefully the future will hold a more focused group of musicians ready to settle on a specific sound.
3. Forgive Me
4. Composed of Stone (ft. Andy Atkins)
5. You've Changed
6. Napalm (ft. Levi Benton)
7. Questioning God
9. Call to Arms
The Crimson Armada was originally started in 2006 as a deathcore outfit. Recently signing to Metal Blade Records, they are more of a technical metal/death metal band. Dropping one singer and finally a stable bass player, they came back strong in april 2008 Apart from their punishing music lyricist Saud Ahmed weaves his message through his words in a fashion similar to The Black Dahlia Murder. For fans of The Black Dahlia Murder, As I Lay Dying, Arsis and any other fast melodic technical metal. New album "Guardians" is slated to come out in spring of 2009.... read more