Any metal release worth its salt, whatever genre it swings the first blow from, should hit hard upon the opening bleedings of sound and the second album from Illinois band The Color Morale is thankfully no exception. ‘My Devil In Your Eyes’ consists of big metalcore riffs and hungry growling vocals laid alongside teasing melodies and creative technical guitar rock delivering something unrelenting and mostly satisfying.
The album strikes first with ‘Nerve Endings’ a solid if not spectacular opening that gives notice of the power and energy driving the creative juices of the band. Steve Carey’s rising machine gun drilling drums lead the track into the growling vocals of Garrett Rapp. Harsh, gritty and threatening, his gravelly voice delivers perfectly as guitars chop and squawk around him before he as the song progresses smoothly, slips into clean vocals showing that the guy can sing too.
Strangely though and against what I usually feel about most post hardcore and screamo type vocals, I more often than not during the album wanted him to stay with the dirty, angry approach over his undeniably great but soft singing voice. Do not get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the combination and it is perfectly delivered and produced but some tracks seemed suited to the harder approach from first note to the last as in ‘Be Longing Always’ or the more melodic style in ‘Human(s)Being’. The more I think about it and listen though I am just being picky and there really is nothing that does not work.
Easily and by far the strongest track on the release is the brilliant ‘Demon Teeth’ an onslaught of power and aggression fitting its title. Ramon Mendoza and John Bross coax and steal every note and sound of energy they can from their instruments with Carey directing like a drumming general, the attack from behind his kit. With Rapp’s for once constant barrage, satisfying my earlier wish, the track is a masterpiece coming over like a hybrid either Fear Factory or Machine Head would fight for.
The next track ‘Falling Awake’, though just falling a little short, continues the intensity and with ’Quote On Quote’ they create a hat-trick of tracks that lifts the album above other bands similar veined efforts. No review of ‘My Devil In Your Eyes’ can be made without a mention of the final track ‘fill;avoid’. I can see this dividing opinions some raving about it and others simply seeing it as a filler to pad the album. For me I loved it and yes it does seem at odds with what has gone before but it is a more than worthy track to grace and with which to close the album. It is a slow haunting track of simple sounds with Rapp giving sorrowful and emotive vocals. It cannot be classed as a ballad, it being more a melodic dirge of atmospheric elegance. Does it work definitely, whether it fits on the album will be a personal view from listener to listener.
‘My Devil In Your Eyes’ is a great album though not an outstanding one. For all the great crushing riffs and inventive melodies and the outstanding vocals of Rapp there is something missing to take them heads and shoulders above the other numerous post hardcore bands around. All the components are there in quality and supply and tracks like ‘Demon Teeth’ shows they have the ability to write classic tracks but that consistency feels like it is just bubbling under the surface still and hopefully it will erupt in future releases.
I certainly recommend checking out The Color Morale’s album as it gives much more than it holds back and is a pleasure waiting to be heard. ‘My Devil In Your Eyes’ is available now on Rise Records.