THIS OR THE APOCALYPSE - Haunt Whats Left [Review]

Genre: Metalcore

Label: Lifeforce Records/Goodfight Music

Released: June 22nd, 2010

Reviewer: Mark McGuire

Its difficult to decide if TOTA have placed first track Charmer from Lifeforce Records' 2010 release “Haunt Whats Left”, at the beginning of the album for a reason. When listening to Charmer I immediately thought ‘August Burns Red must live in their basement’. Not to say Charmer isn’t a good track, but placed at the beginning of this ten song album, it instills preconceptions of the bands influences, tastes, and perhaps tendency to go with a formula that’s been used to death.

However the rest of the album is a journey into whats been done and what can still be done well, with a little personal touch flung into the mix. Some songs are in stark contrast to ABR, very reminiscent of early Bullet For My Valentine, a surprising turn of events after Charmer’s initial mood set. Perhaps Charmer’s placement as an intro to the CD was simply an explosive ‘Listen to us, were here, were loud and well burst your fucking eardrums”. All that taken into consideration TOTA are certainly ‘here’. They have a rhythm to their approach which in some ways dismisses the idea that they are just another copycat noisebox we see so much of these days.

Listening to new bands presently I find it quite difficult sometimes to pinpoint a unique element in most tracks and it can honestly feel like I'm listening to one big long messy composition of artists that would rather just cash in on kids who want to irritate their parents or fit in with the ‘cool kids’. TOTA on the other hand may hold major resemblances to groups that have been and gone or are still about but the difference is they truly seem to believe in what they’re doing. Vocalist Ricky Armellino sounds like hes fighting for his life throughout Haunt Whats Left and the other members seem to follow suit. The music can pack a violent punch as soon as lure you into a breathtaking harmony, the apparent required criteria for a band in this genre. Some bands do it well, others do it poorly, but This Or The Apocalypse wont let go until you feel what they feel…

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