Album Review: WALLS OF JERICHO No One Can Save You From Yourself
It’s been a while since I have really sat down and listened to a new album from a hardcore band. It’s also been quite a while since we’ve seen Walls of Jericho with some new material. The band has been on an extended hiatus, and it’s been at least 8 years since their last studio album. But now they’re finally back and with a full new studio release as well. Hopefully, No One Can Save You From Yourself, will be the successful reintroduction back into the hardcore scene.
No One Can Save You From Yourself is the band’s 5th full-length studio album. Throughout their span, they have definitely been able to stand up to the likes of contenders like Hatebreed or Vision of Disorder. Their music is just super energetic, circle-pit inducing metalcore. And No One Can Save You From Yourself is certainly no exception.
After a short intro track, we’re introduced to “Illusions of Safety”, with a commanding drum beat and gang vocals. Although it’s pretty short, it’s the perfect overture to what we will be encountering for the remainder of the album. We have heavy thrash inspired riffs, d-beats flinging everywhere, breakdowns every other second, and aggressive screaming vocals. Everything you hear is exactly what you should expect to hear from any good hardcore album. There aren’t any punches thrown, no creeping fusion genres, not a whole lot of melody, or anything to detract you from a full blown hardcore experience. And consequently, not a whole lot to talk about in terms of deep musical exposition.
Now, I will say that this album suffers from a couple of the flaws that most hardcore albums come across. It’s hard to take a huge and in-depth critical look at hardcore albums, because they’re not necessarily meant to be taken as huge works of art, as say a Dream Theater album might. However, when it takes a couple full listens through an album to identify something that makes it stand out, then something needs to be said.
When listening through an album like this during your leisure time, you will more than likely feel as if you’re listening to a 41-minute hardcore song, rather than a full length album with separate tracks. Most tracks are usually the same tempo, and if they fluctuate, they will still fluctuate to the same tempos from track to track. Riffs and breakdowns are only slightly varied from each other, and the same drumbeats don’t do it any favors to differentiate. It really just is the same thing over and over again and can even sound a little generic from all of the other hardcore acts out there.
That being said, there are some definite stand out moments that are really awesome. “Relentless” is an immediate change that begins with a variety of people chanting the words “I am relentless” over each other, giving off the empowering camaraderie that hardcore can give off. And then it follows immediately into a crazy double-picking riff that you simply cannot resist. “Relentless” absolutely ends up being my favorite track on the album.
And the closer track, “Probably Will”, definitely doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album, but is still a welcome change. It’s a down-tempo, ethereal and clean vocals driven…ballad, I guess you’d call it. Even some orchestral strings layer themselves in and make for a pretty epic ending. Truthfully, I like the song, but I think it would’ve been cool to hear more of this in this album for a better contrast. These two tracks aforementioned tracks are basically the only moments that stand out to me when I listen though. The rest is more monotonous and can be forgettable, especially in comparison to these tracks.
But again, this is me taking the piss out of a hardcore album. When you’re in the mood to thrash around, throw down in a pit, or just headbang to something awesome, you pick up a hardcore album. It’s what you do. And it’s what you do when you listen to Walls of Jericho. No One Can Save You From Yourself is no exception to that. And what this album attempts to do for the listener is fully achieved. Is it an absolute masterpiece that will be remembered for years? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you still won’t enjoy good hardcore from a band who knows what good hardcore is all about.