Album Review :
Society's Finest - And I the Drunkards

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Band: Society’s Finest
Title: And I, The Drunkards
Label: Hand Of Hope
Release Date: 5/16/06
Review By: Josh IndieVision

Tracklisting:

01. NYC
02. And I, The Drunkards
03. Cutters, Oh Cutters
04. One More Kiss
05. Holland
06. Sunday Prayer
07. Goddess
08. Fourth Floor Corpse
09. Nebraska
10. Dear Rebecca Nurse
11. Untitled
12. Deadlightstrangers

Members/Duties:

Joshua Ashworth: Vocals
Eli Bowser: Guitar
Guy Turner: Guitar
Daniel Barton: Bass
Stephen Poole: Drums

Society’s Finest have been a household name in metalcore for over 8 years. They’ve released an EP on Pluto Records (“Private Conflicts And Suicides”, then took over Solid State with their crushing debut “The Journey So Far” (which by the way still maintains a slot in my disc player), then after that seemed to disappear. It was sad to see them go because they had so much unused potential. Happily I learned in 2004 that Hand of Hope, an upstart label under Eulogy, signed them and would be releasing an album including all the tracks from “Private Conflicts And Suicides”. This was a smart move for sure because this album has long been out of print. The album was good but I was hearing a new Society’s Finest and I really couldn’t get into it. The band, now being reformed began writing a new album together, preparing yet again to take over the metalcore world. Enter, “And I, The Drunkards”, recorded with Andreas Magnusson (Scarlet, Black Dahlia Murder) and he has helped recapture their former glory, if not surpassed it.

The album wastes no time beating you down. “NYC” tears from the gates with punishing drums and driving guitars. The track was heard on the last effort but this time it really caught me. It’s constant pummeling of my ears left me excited for what else they could bring to the table. The title track brings forth a sweet, catchy riff which then gives way to another
metallic breakdown. It quickly changes pace yet again and I’m utterly surprised to hear some European metal rhythmic guitar in there. Could S.F. be giving way to some death metal influence. Indeed they have. They even include some clean background singing over Joshua’s raspy lead. A perfect mix without succumbing to the emo-core trend.

“Sunday Prayer”, a quick paced assault, forces your heartbeat to skyrocket while tracks like “Nebraska” bring back the old metalcore feel of The Journey So Far, with its odd timings and changes of pace. While some aspects old older days are still found here, they have been maturely honed and are precise in execution.

I’m glad to see more guitarwork in this album including solo work on “One More Kiss” and “Fourth Floor Corpse”. They have done a lot more with melody in this album as compared to previous efforts. They are primed for big things with their efforts to branch out in their sound. The background vocals found mixed in certain songs are often haunting, which really adds to the emotional feel of the album. They’ve opted to not go the poppy sung vocal route and it certainly was a wise choice.

This album’s intensity does not give in throughout, although the music varies. It may be softer and quieter but the overall feel sticks. “And I, The Drunkards” has unseated it’s predecessor “The Journey So Far”, from my stereo. An album combining beauty, brutality, darkness, and passion in one intense package. A must have for any metal collection!

Standout Tracks:

“NYC”, “Cutters, Oh Cutters”, “Sunday Prayer”

Overall Rating:

A tremendous outing for the boys in SF! I wasn’t expecting as much as I was given and every listen I’m more thankful for it. This album might lose some listeners because of it’s unrelenting, in your face aggression but any fan of hard music should dig it. There is certainly a bright future ahead for them.

Individual Ratings:

Album Art/Design: Not a big fan of the scattered art work on the cover. Looks like a junior high art collage project. I supposed there might be some meaning behind it but I’m not going to stare and figure it out. [The lyrics are all included]

Lyrics: Songs deal with a variety of topics throughout yet all seem to come from a darker standpoint. Issues of lust, failure, addictions, and goodbyes. Some lyrics will be a bit harsh for some listeners, with occassional wordings and phrases not usually heard in Christian circles. It is an accurate picture of life these days and the frustrations that can become of it.

Marketability: Metalcore is huge right now. Society’s Finest is certainly heavier than alot of their cohorts and contain less clean singing but that actually works in their favor. This release should do well for them and gain them some good tours which will only increase their audience. A video would certainly help.

Production: Andreas Magnusson did an excellent job capturing the full range of sounds on this album. The low end is brought in force and the high end never gives out. Near perfection!

Vocals: Ashworth’s vocals have a great range of growling to singing, then back again to raspy screams. The extreme variety he can offer is a definite plus. He has found his niche vocally and it is clearly seen and heard.

Similar To: As I Lay Dying, Norma Jean, Spitfire

Links:
Website
Myspace
Purevolume
Label

Buy:
Hand Of Hope Store