Texas In July

Bloodwork

Written by: PP on 20/11/2014 23:14:37

Ephrata, Pennsylvania metalcore band Texas In July might just be the textbook definition of the genre in 2014, despite their tendency to source their inspiration from the more technical corners of the genre. With "Bloodwork" they have now churned out four albums with relentless consistency of almost there but not quite, highlighting that just because your songs are blindingly technical in terms of guitar wizardry does not necessarily mean you're out of the generic mould within the genre by no means. But thanks to solid songwriting skills and a general avoidance of nothingsaying breakdowns, they've always managed to stay slightly above the gray mass of standard fare metalcore bands, yet just out-of-reach from heavyweight riffmasters August Burns Red, All That Remains, and As I Lay Dying, the three bands that Texas In July model their sound around.

The good news is that "Bloodwork" might be the group's finest work to date, or at least on par with 2011's "One Reality", which deviated from the metalcore formula slightly to embrace the then quickly breaking melodic hardcore genre (think The Ghost Inside, Hundredth etc). 2012's self-titled was a quick return to riff-driven metalcore though, and "Bloodwork" basically improves on that formula by adding an element of recognition to many of their chorus tracks. Both "Sweetest Poison" and "Pseudo Self" have excellent melodies that recall classic All That Remains material where the guitars shred with back-chilling lead melodies and the decipherable, thick growls add a catchy element into the chorus sections. Clean vocals are nowhere to be found, of course, as is mandatory for classic technical metalcore, and this part is a bit of a double-edged sword for Texas In July. On one hand, their new growler/screamer JT Cavey (replacing Alex Good) is extremely competent in his duty, which means the forceful nature of their expression would be weakened with a fragile high pitch vocal supporting during any choruses. At the same time, the album feels rather monotonous because the only true variety is found within the riff structures. But even here, the red thread is a constant technical onslaught that oftentimes comes across as being technical for being technical's sake, rather than for advancing some grander songwriting purpose.

Don't get me wrong though, because when all of that clicks together, the result is some hair-raising moments such as those found on the dynamically altering sections on "Inner Demons", which suggest Texas In July belong to the top of the metalcore class. It's just too bad they can't string enough consistent songs together to write that one masterpiece album that has always eluded them, because if there's one thing this band needs it's a "Frail Words Collapse" or a "The Fall Of Ideals" to properly break through. At least at this stage they have enough great material to string together a sweet live set with best cuts from all four albums resulting in a presumably fantastic experience for any metalcore fan, but while "Bloodwork" might be their best work to date, it still falls regrettably short from being a classic.

7

Download: Sweetest Poison, Pseudo Self, Inner Demons, Nooses
For the fans of: August Burns Red, All That Remains, As I Lay Dying, Miss May I, Darkest Hour
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.09.2014
Equal Vision Records

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