- Fools Gold
- Day By Day
- In the Land of Freedom…
- Deaf and Dumb
- The Great Disconnect
- Growing Pains
- High Life
While it may not be fair, a band with a completely revamped lineup will always be compared to what they once were. Look at Haste the Day for instance. Their releases are always categorized by either “Pre Jimmy” or “Post Jimmy”.
In a similar fashion, Ace Augustine had to undergo a transformation that cycled almost all new members into the band. In fact the only members left over from their previous album, “The Absolute” are the guitarists, Tyler Chadwick and Spencer Barnett. So this all brings the questions, whether it is fair or not, “How does ‘The Sick and Suffering’ hold up to ‘The Absolute’?”.
After a short intro featuring news clips, AA dives headfirst into Fools Gold, which aside from the deeper growls of new front man Ryan Feister, sounds like something that could have easily made the cut on “The Absolute”. There is an intense heaviness with underlying melody that will sound inviting to any fan of metalcore as it’s done with precision and expertise.
Daggerboard keeps the energy going, adding a bit more melody to the mix than its’ predecessor in the form of more singing. Fans of the band should find it comforting to hear guitarist Tyler Chadwick’s soothing vocals again amidst the frantic growls of Feister. Chadwick truly shines in the next track, Day After Day as he croons, “You keep making the same mistakes day after day/ Just because they are lost right now doesn’t mean they can’t be saved”.
Day After Day also throws a wrench in the works in the form of stellar vocals that sound something in the vein of From the Eyes of Servants or Take it Back!. In fact, I would say these vocals are some of strongest sounding vocals on the record since they really stand out amidst the deeper scale Feister typically uses. The dueling vocals from the two screamers add a whole new level of interest to this stand out track.
In the Land of Freedom… manages to provide some of the best instrumental backing on the album. Chadwick and Spencer Barnett have interesting riffs that really allow the song to flow as the music transcends standard metalcore and delves into melodic hardcore and punk rhythms. Drummer Josh Hess and bass player Cody Owen also makes their presence known as they keeps pace with the odd rhythms that abound within the breakdowns of this track.
From this point on in the record, things tend to go downhill a bit with the exception of the stellar Growing Pains, which features some of the strongest vocals (clean and screamed) along with some pretty flooring technicality. While not all is bad and there are glimpses of great moments such as the breakdown towards the end of Deaf and Dumb where Feister shouts, “If my thoughts aren’t on You / Wake me up! / I’ve been sleeping for far too long”, things just seem to feel a bit uninspired in the last half of the album. Mannequins is a solid track, but feels drug down by cleans that come across as uninspired and just seem to drone on.
Overall: “The Sick and Suffering” starts off strong, but after about the halfway point, the record loses a decent amount of steam save for a few moments. Ace Augustine have overcome all odds to release another full length record and I truly commend them for that. If they are able to keep this lineup and really begin to gel and flesh out their sound, I believe they could begin to make waves in the music scene. As for the question of whether this record holds up to their last release us truly up to the listener to decide
RIYL: A Bullet for Pretty Boy | With Life in Mind | Inhale Exhale