Album Review :
Greeley Estates - The Death of Greeley Estates

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Band: Greeley Estates
Title: The Death of Greeley Estates
Label: Tragic Hero Records
Release Date: August 9th, 2011
Reviewer: David M
Track Listing:
  1. Straight Jacket
  2. The Last Dance
  3. Friendly Neighborhood Visit
  4. Bodies
  5. The Medic
  6. Thousand Burning Forests
  7. Broken (Interlude)
  8. Love Hurts
  9. Circle The Wagons
  10. The Reaction
  11. Tonight
  12. The Postman
  13. Mouth To Mouth
  14. Repaired (Interlude)
  15. December

I’m sure some people have noticed, but I haven’t been extremely active on IVM lately, so me posting this review will probably be a bit of a surprise. I’ve had a lot going on in my life at the moment, and while I definitely look up to and respect Brandon for running this site and giving me this chance, it has been the furthest thing from my mind. I’ve been spending a lot of time studying the Word and getting involved with church, and in all honesty, I’ve somewhat been dreading writing this review. It’s not as bad as These Hearts, but it’s still not the best album I’ve received for review.

Greeley Estates definitely isn’t a new name in the scene. Formed in 2002, GE has gone through a lot of musical transformations, starting off with what people mistakenly dub “emo” to what we have now, an interesting blend between their original sound and a bit of metalcore, punk, and various other genres. At times, I feel like I’m listening to the Used but on steroids, and that actually isn’t a bad thing in my book. Currently, there are only two original members, but unlike other bands that have been dealt with the blow of member-loss, they at least have kept a guitar player, which means there will be consistent similarities. I honestly will say I enjoy their newer sound moreso than the former, but it’s still by no means flawless.

The biggest problem I see with this album is the vocals. Musically, there is a lot of potential, albeit nothing original or groundbreaking, but enough to keep me interested. However, the vocals are weak and grating, and makes the band seem like a poor man’s Oh Sleeper. It’s hard for me to focus on what’s going on with the guitars and drums because I keep thinking, “Wow, I thought these kind of vocals died out a while ago.” It could be argued vocalist Ryan Zimmerman’s screams are metallic, but I just feel with the genre change that they have made, the vocal range wasn’t very complimentary. Every once in a while, his screams are more in the middle range and definitely fit the music, but it’s the whole nasal-screaming that makes me cringe the same way These Hearts did.

I will go ahead and apologize that this will be one of my weaker reviews, but it’s hard to write when I don’t have the lyrics to read alongside the music, because to me, unless you’re an instrumental band, the lyrics are the backbone of the music; it’s the message they are wishing to convey. I’ve noticed a few references to a “medic” in several songs, and here and there I hear Jesus’s name, so whether it’s a true call out to Christ or it’s just jumping on a trendy-bandwagon, I couldn’t tell you. I know Brandon wouldn’t have asked me to review this album if there wasn’t a positive or Christ-driven message behind the music, but it’s still hard to really tell where they stand. Before getting this, I didn’t even know they even talked about faith in their music, but then again, I never was a fan of the band before, and still am not.

Overall: The Death of Greeley Estates is not a bad album by any means. If you are a fan of the genre, you will find plenty to enjoy and take away from the effort. “December,” while predictably at the end, is a nice change of pace and shows that they aren’t musicians stuck in a metalcore rut. That being said, there is nothing here that really wows me or makes me excited for their release tomorrow. The entire time I listened to the Death of, I kept thinking, “When is the new Oh Sleeper due again?” If you were already a fan of Greeley Estates, I’m sure you will enjoy this, and even if you aren’t but enjoy bands like Oh, Sleeper or Haste the Day, give it a chance. You may be surprised. If you’re like me and have been a fan of metalcore since the early days of Zao, Killswitch, and Unearth, you will be more jaded than anything and realize this has been done several times before. Our world runs in cycles. I’m just waiting for bands that decide to break them and go outside the norm to the point of truly changing the musical landscape we see now.

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