Evergreen Terrace - Almost Home (Metal Blade/Riot)

It's not going to be popular with the entire Metal As Fuck crowd, but Evergreen Terrace's latest effort is, in my opinion, a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend half an hour.
Release Date: 
29 Sep 2009 - 8:30am

To me Evergreen Terrace have always been one of those bands that I just lump in with the plethora of other 'metalcore' outfits. A couple of years ago, you couldn't listen to anything without being bombarded with a 'scream, scream, clean, scream/clean' vocal pattern which, if done correctly, can work pretty well. This may make me a bit unpopular with the brutal maniacs that frequent this zine, but I'm a big fan of Atreyu and still think 36 Crazyfists are one of my favourite bands to see live.

No hate mail please!

However, there's a fuckload more to Evergreen Terrace's latest offering, Almost Home, than common-or-garden songs that fit nicely into a niche frequented by bands that grace the cover of Kerrang magazine. Okay, the combination of Andrew Carey's screamo vocals and axeman/second vocalist Craig Chaney is as close to Atreyu's Alex Vartkatzas and Brandon Saller as physically possible, never more so than on We're Always Losing Blood. But the Family Guy-inspired God Rocky, Is This Your Face doesn't so much dip a toe into mathcore, it more submerges an entire leg. Think Coalesce but with more obvious patterns and you're there. And for those of you with baseball caps and bandanas, The Letdown is an absolute neck-snapping, NYHC-style bruiser.

Guitarist Josh James is quoted as saying, 'We are a touring band, and it feels like we are forever saying we're ‘almost home'...' which seems obvious from this album; the vast majority of the songs sound as if they're designed with the pits in mind.

At just over 37 minutes in length, Almost Home's eleven songs pass at a blistering pace, often led by Kyle Mims' shit-hot drum work - he doesn't do anything extraordinary, but it's refreshing to hear a consistent, solid tub thumper throughout the entire album. This might sound fucking retarded but I can think of a number of albums I've reviewed recently in which the fellow behind the skins has clearly just got a double kick and decided that'll be what dominates the song.

In terms of standout songs, Mario Speedwagon has the best title by a country mile and absolutely stinks of Rise Against, for whom I am a total fucking whore. Mind you, Hopelessley Hopeless is a more harmonious moment that slows the pace but keeps the intensity, so I'm torn between the two.

My one criticism of Almost Home is that the songs have a tendancy to unepectedly stop. Not that everything needs a Free Bird-esque outro but a bit of warning would be nice; sometimes you're left mid-headbang, which can make you look a total cunt. Luckily only the cat was watching me.

Cards on the table: I wanted to hate this album. I wanted to say 'ridiculous "ironic" name, typical screamo/metalcore/emo scene bullshit, seen it a million times...' and so on and so forth. And, to a degree, I would have been right. But on the other hand, I would have been incredibley short-sighted. Yes, the vocal arrangement is tried and tested to death. Yes, breakdowns like this have been seen a million times.  However, I can think of a number of grind bands that follow generic patterns, and the same can be said of our happy colleagues on the Scandanavian black metal scene.

The point is, Almost Home is a fucking great album. Most hardcore fans of goregrind, death, sludge, etc. will hate it because they'll think it's for pussies. A lot of folk will hate it because Evergreen Terrace invariabley wear Vans trainers and Atticus t-shirts to show off their pretty sleeve tattoos.

They are a pretty generic 'scene' band, and this is another pretty generic 'scene' album. But sorry guys, I love it.

Almost Home is out on Metal Blade/Riot on 29 September. Buy it now!