The Fall Of Troy - In The Unlikely Event
Equal Vision Records
Progressive Post-Hardcore
12 songs (52:46)
Release year: 2009
Equal Vision Records
Reviewed by James

You can't please everybody all of the time, as The Fall Of Troy have no doubt discovered in the wake of the premature leak of In The Unlikely Event. Right off the bat, fans were complaining about the record being too clean and commercial, that Thomas Erak's vocals had lost a lot of their fire, and the band generally having lost their touch. Cue a snarky response from Erak himself on the band's Myspace page, describing his own voice as “fucking tits” (I assume he means this in a positive sense) and generally giving off the impression that he felt his fans were ignorant plebs. He later apologized for his rant, but it's clear that In The Unlikely Event was a controversial release before it was even officially available. Well, now that it's in fact available in stores, just what is all the fuss about?

Well, it's true that many of the fans' complaints are largely accurate. Hiring Terry Date to produce the album was largely a bad move, with much of the album sounding overly slick and shiny, particularly in the neutered sounding vocals. Speaking of Erak's voice, although he's technically improved as a singer, his bugged-out yelp is gone, and with it a good chunk of his energy. Straight-Jacket Keelhauled shows they can still bring it on par with other math-post-hardcore champs The Dillinger Escape Plan when they want to, so why don't they for much of the album? It all feels like a calculated step in a more commercial direction, with most songs boasting syrupy melodies a mile wide. Oh, and the cover art makes the band look like a faceless screamo outfit.

So, In The Unlikely Event is heavily flawed, but it's certainly not without merit. If we must be given more commercial songs, at least make them maddeningly catchy, and that's exactly what The Fall Of Troy have done. Panic Attack! comes straight out of the gate with an arresting chorus, and from here on the record is laced with hooks throughout. Those of you who view any semblance of pop sensibility as anathema should steer clear, but seeing as you seem to be a forward-thinking bunch (we've reviewed Coheed And Cambria before without receiving death threats) you'll probably have half the songs here looping around in your head for weeks. The only real “bad song” here is People And Their Lives, which goes on for entirely too long. Indeed, the record could do with a judicious pruning of one or two songs, with Dirty Pillow Talk not having all that much to it apart from a guest slot from Protest The Hero frontman Rody Walker. Unfortunately, he doesn't really add all that much, using his fairly average growl rather than showing off his operatic talents, his part clearly not having been written with him in mind. Still, although the album is weak vocally, for the most part (Erak still shows off that voice he's so proud of on obligatory slow jam Webs) the band are still as instrumentally spectacular as they've always been, so even disappointed old-school fans will find some solace in the mathcore workouts of Walk Of Fame, the closest the band sound to their old selves, and a track that would fit in nicely on Doppelganger.

Very few people will call this The Fall Of Troy's finest hour (though this record will no doubt win them many new fans) but there's enough in here to make it well worth your time. I'll still turn to Doppelganger every time I want something with a bit more substance from them, but if I want The Fall Of Troy-lite, an album I can rock out to without having to really think too much. That's probably the most backhanded compliment I've ever given, but as enjoyable as In The Unlikely Event is I can't get around the fact that the band have sold their souls a little here. This is an album that works because the band's songwriting is as strong as ever, but I can't help but be concerned that the new sound with lose its' flavour very fast on subsequent recordings. Indeed, already the band are starting to sound less like themselves (Webs and Nobody's Perfect are pure Coheed worship, regardless of their quality). Good stuff, but leaves the band in a very awkward predicament.

Killing Songs :
Panic Attack!, Webs, Walk Of Fame
James quoted 78 / 100
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