Album Review :
The Color Morale - We All Have Demons

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Artist: The Color Morale
Album: We All Have Demons
Label: Rise Records
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Review by: Michael Mayer III

Tracklisting:

  1. The Sage of Washington Oaks
  2. Close Your Eyes and Look Away
  3. When One Was Desolate
  4. Humannequin
  5. Resource: Recourse
  6. A Sponge in the Ocean
  7. Hopes Anchor
  8. Manumission
  9. The Man Behind the Hands
  10. I, the Jury

The Color Morale bring their brand of metalcore to Rise Records with the debut We All Have Demons. An even balance of screaming and clean vocals is used amidst heavy breakdowns and other genre staples, but it’s not all predictable. They do their part in throwing a few twists to keep people listening and that’s what makes this an album worth owning for fans of the genre.

The opening combo of ‘The Sage of Washington Oaks’ and ‘Close Your Eyes and Look Away’ serves as the perfect introduction to what you can expect with the rest of the album. You can hear how heavy the breakdowns will get and how the clean vocals will sound. Unfortunately most every song features the same style of singing. He has a great voice, not too high-pitched and certainly not whiny, but there’s not much variety in the way he sings. I’m not sure if this is because the vocal melodies need to be written better or he just hasn’t tried different ways. With that being said, at least his voice isn’t annoying and is the perfect contrast to the brutal screaming (which is quite varied and intelligible).

‘Hopes Anchor’ is easily the best as far as variety in vocals goes (complete with strong backing vocals), but the lyrics also shine bright, and I mean that literally. Each song in We All Have Demons has a message of hope for fighting through tough situations and personal demons that we all face. That song is a prime example as they scream and sing, I’ve been used, I’ve been tried, I’ve been tested but I have yet to break, so share your fears with me, I won’t quit until I know that I truly tried (we are enabled). The Color Morale have said they wanted to write songs that have meaning and I don’t doubt that many people will connect with these on a personal level to give them inspiration.  

Another element that really spices up a few songs to give them a distinct sound is the guitars layered in the background. They rarely come to the forefront to deliver a blistering solo, but rather add a texture to the songs. ‘Close Your Eyes and Look Away’ and ‘I, the Jury’ come to mind as the standout tracks on the album because of it. As often as metalcore bands will try to blow your mind with off-the-wall technical ability that sometimes doesn’t fit in a song, this was a pleasant surprise. ‘Manumission’ is also one of my favorites because of the soothing atmosphere and melody even though I was frustrated at it being cut short and lasting only a minute and a half though.

There are actually a couple songs that should’ve been longer since they had a unique sound and others that were a tad bit too long. The album is also only 34 minutes long with track times all across the board. I’m not sure why a lot of band’s in this genre have a recent fascination of short albums with only ten tracks but it’s been happening a lot recently. I just hope it’s not a predetermined choice so much as how things naturally played out when recording the material.

Overall: Even when predictable, The Color Morale still accomplished what they set out to do in making an entertaining album that fans would want to have in their collection. With some more varied singing this band could easily rise to the top and stand out amongst their peers. Fortunately for them, this solid debut puts them in a position to make only a few adjustments to get there. Until then, the rest of us can listen in eager anticipation and enjoy the ride.

Gems of this album are: ‘Manumission’, ‘I, the Jury’, ‘Close Your Eyes and Look Away’, ‘Hopes Anchor’

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