Album Review :
Means - To Keep Me From Sinking

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Band: Means
Title: To Keep Me From Sinking
Label: Facedown
Release Date: 5.27.2008
Review By: JoshIVM

Tracklisting:

01. Awareness
02. Breaking In
03. Somewhere Up Ahead
04. Blackout
05. Steadily
06. We Dwell In Possibility
07. Burned Into Me
08. Refuge
09. What We Seek
10. Of Dread And Dreams

Means, one of Facedown’s rising acts, are back with their sophmore release. I am a huge fan of their debut Sending You Strength and have listened to it quite a bit. Unfortunately in cases like that the bar is set extremely high for the band to top it with their second release. While I don’t feel like they’re in a sophmore slump, I also do not feel they created a better album than the first.

The most noticeable difference between this album and the last is Dylan’s vocals. His voice sounds beat up. Perhaps this is the case and it was just worn out because of touring or maybe his vocals have changed a bit. At first this was an extreme turnoff to me. Being such a fan of the last album I couldn’t seem to get past the change. From his deeper, thick yells to now a more coarse, raspy approach took a bit of the brutality away from their sound. But the more I listened to this disc the more the vocals faded and were no longer as big of an issue.

Musically the band continues to bring the technical, melodic hardcore they are known for. Matt Goud has an impressive ability to craft aggressive jams and alternating his soothing vocals with Dylan’s harsh tones. Even with the change the vocals melt together really well. There is a good mix of guitars on this album from pounding breakdowns, driving rhythms, to more intricate guitar work, something about their style just hooks me. “Breaking In” is one of the heavier tracks until the more melodic chorus which is one of the more memorable on the album. The ballad “Steadily” was unexpected but extremely welcomed! This song is an acoustic song featuring Matt Goud’s awesome vocals and stands out not only because of the change in musical style but in the fact that it’s simply a good song. I would actually like to see Goud do some solo work or a even a side project that uses his vocals in a calmer musical setting. Many of the rest of the tracks keep a similar, unrelenting pace during verses and then calmer cleanly sung choruses (“Refuge“, “We Dwell In Possibility“).

Overall Rating: Thankfully over multiple listens my vocal complaints lessened a great deal although they didn’t fully diminish. I still prefer his vocals on Sending You Strength but as a whole this album is nearly as good. To Keep Me From Sinking is another impressive release and a welcome change from many of their melodic hardcore contemporaries! (8/10)

Standout Tracks: “Breaking In”, “Steadily”, “Burned Into Me”

Links:
Myspace
Facedown Records

Buy: Facedown Records Store