RISE TO REMAIN - City of Vultures [Review]

Genre: Metalcore

Label: EMI

Released: September 5th 2011

Reviewer: Tristan French

Young London Metallers ,Rise to Remain’s full length debut , “City Of Vultures”, has been anticipated for quite some time now, after releasing their “Bridges Will Burn” EP back in the first quarter of 2010. However, that EP alone gained them tours with some of metal’s biggest names, including Funeral For A Friend, Bullet For my Valentine, Trivium and Iron Maiden. However, despite a mostly positive reaction, many were cynical of this album prior to its release, stating that the band were “manufactured” and were only receiving exposure due to the inclusion of vocalist, Austin Dickinson (yep, you guessed it, he’s Bruce Dickinson’s son!). These people could not be more wrong. “City Of Vultures” clearly shows why the band is called “Rise To Remain” and not “The Austin Dickinson Band,” as Austin does not hog the spotlight at all. From start to finish “City Of Vultures” is a solid group effort by a talented array of young musicians, prepared to prove the cynics wrong.

The album’s haunting and almost spine chilling intro (serving as the calm before the battle that I personally love oh so much) flows brilliantly into album opener “The Serpent” , a groovy riff fest of a track, immediately displaying the clear skill of guitarists Ben Tovey and Will Homer. Leading the charge however are Pat Lundy’s purely creative and unique drum beats (reminiscent slightly of former Trivium drummer Travis Smith). The sheer aggression is matched by Austin Dickinson’s demonic snarls while his melodious clean vocals sit beautifully on top of the brilliant guitar work.

Rise To Remain continue their aggressive assault with their anthem to the outcasts “This Day Is Mine” and their thrash-tastic title track “City of Vultures.” Again Tovey and Homer prove their riffing prowess, with both tracks rumbling along like a tank at full speed. However both songs contain equally inspiring melodies, which are sure to evoke confidence in all who hear them. The title track’s drums are probably the fastest and most aggressive on the record, so much so that at times that listeners are sure to experience a form of rush from Pat Lundy’s sheer stick/pedal/brutal mastery. The title track contrasts this atmosphere of aggression through a beautifully clean guitar outro, seeing as anyone would need to calm down after that barrage of a song, and a great calmer it serves as too.

Rise to Remain sustain this air of hostility throughout the album, including the lyrically poignant “God Can Bleed”, the dark and melodic chorus of “Power Through Fear”, the hope inspiring lead single “Nothing Left” and the fist pump inducing “We Will Last Forever” whilst cleverly and subtly adding progressive elements to the crunching breakdowns and sing-a-long choruses (djent fans amongst you will spot these right away).

If anyone does steal the show on this record, then it’s lead axeman Ben Tovey. His intelligent combination of melodic leads with a clear display of technical skill, displayed mainly on the sweep based solos of “Nothing Left” and “The Serpent” , while the solo on “God Can Bleed” provides contrast through a simple yet awesome melody. Bottom line, this guy can play!

Austin’s lyrics are also a central part of this record, focusing less on rhyming schemes and simplicity, and focusing more on the actual words being sung. I have to be honest “God Can Bleed” (I think this my favorite track on the album!) actually made me as a listener feel that limits were simply a fragment of the human psyche and that anything was possible, even wounding a god (dramatic way of putting it, but it’s true) and I haven’t felt this way since I first heard Disturbed’s “Indestructible”.

However, despite the unique nature of the band’s sound and their songs, there were some that made less of impact than I originally expected, namely “Talking Through Whispers” and “Illusions”. Out of all the songs on the album, these two are the ones that seem to break the flow of an otherwise well-gelling (if that wasn’t a phrase, it is now) album. Don’t get me wrong, they are both decent tracks in their own right, but in the context of the record…they kind of disrupt it’s natural flow.

All of that aside, “City Of Vultures” proves that Rise To Remain are aware of the steep hill that they have to climb, and that they’ll have to work bloody hard to do it, and although it may not be a flawless record, “City Of Vultures” has achieved what I believe a debut full-length album should, and that’s place a stamp upon the community, and, in the case of Rise To Remain, proved that they aren’t just “some other synthetic band”. Although there are two weaker tracks, the rest of them hit hardly enough to keep listeners more than satisfied. These guys have proved they can play and have the skills to push forward, so I’m going to rate “City Of Vultures” a:

Rise To Remain are definitely worth checking out, they may not be everyone’s cup ‘o’ tea, but are enjoyable and give slight hope to an otherwise dissipating young metal scene in the UK. To quote young Austin, “The Serpent has spoken”.

Strongest Tracks

  • Nothing Left
  • God Can Bleed
  • This Day is Mine
  • Power Through Fear

Weakest Tracks

  • Talking in Whispers
  • Illusions
  • Roads

Catch Rise to Remain on their headlining tour throughout the UK in September/October AND on the Defenders Of The Faith III Tour alongside Insense, Ghost, In Flames and Trivium. [Click here to dates]

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