Sometimes you get what you wish for. And all you pesky kids that thought The Fall Of Troy’s last record, the thoroughly excellent ‘Manipulator’, wasn’t fast, hard, or (sigh) extreme enough, better be happy with ‘In The Unlikely Event’. Everything you complained about being missing is back- there are schizophrenic extremes, off-kilter structures, thrash riffs, blinding technicality and dozens of strangled screams. Unfortunately though, that means almost everything else the Washington outfit were doing that was quietly pushing them into a league of their own has been abandoned to make room.
Opener ‘Panic Attack!’ starts strong but just brushes the surface of what the band have done before, ‘Straight-Jacket Keelhauled’ sounds like the band actually were having panic attacks at their instruments, intense but forgettable and even a little silly in the long run, and although Protest The Hero’s Rody Walker adds some powerful vocals to ‘Dirty Pillow Talk’, the song struggles to go in so many directions at once it ends up getting nowhere.
Thankfully, some things never change. It’s still impossible to believe that it’s just three skinny dudes making all the noise here, they’re still dudes with some serious skill, and, underneath the silly schizophrenia and forced fury, this is a band that still have an uncanny knack for a hook. ‘Single’ feels like a collection of cool parts rather than a complete song but pivots around a killer chorus, and ‘A Classic Case Of Transference’- somewhere between a lost Muse classic and the next Tim Burton movie soundtrack, packed with genuinely experimental licks, big riffs and shimmering, pristine pop hooks- is truly brilliant.
It’s not enough to save this record though and perhaps the worst news of all here is that these highlights won’t have you sticking with this record but digging out your copies of ‘Doppelganger’ and ‘Manipulator’ instead. ‘In The Unlikely Event’ is what so many people asked for but in the end there’s little traction, depth, drive or character here. This is a backwards step and then some.
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