Poison The Well
3. Turn Down Elliot
4. Rings From Corona
5. Moments Over Exaggerate
6. Horns And Tails
7. Sticks And Stones Never Made Sense
8. Pieces Of You In Me
9. Karsey Street
10. Parks And What You’ve Meant To Me
I have never been one to fully digest the plodding tempos and mosh-friendly affectations of what has come to be known as “metalcore”. The slightly above-average bands I have come to enjoy in small doses (Converge, Minus, Glassjaw, Blood Has Been Shed, The Great Deceiver, among a few others) are few and far between. Not only that, I find its red-headed stepchild emo-core (or “screamo” as it has come to be known) to be even more abhorrent. Now, as I recall, I remember liking what I heard of Poison the Well’s widely appreciated Opposite of December, which could very well be evident as to why I actually shelled out fifteen dollars on this, their sophomore album. Also, I actually had high expectations for it, which, I suppose, can be seen as a high point as I usually would not even give the slightest shit as to whether or not Botch, Hatebreed, or Throwdown had a new album out. Unfortunately, I do have many a gripe with A Tear From the Red, which is highly unfortunate as I so wanted to enjoy and lovingly cradle it in my arms!
My main problem with A Tear From the Red lies within the following: arrangement and vocals. Yes, while it is apparent that guitarists Derek and Ryan are able to come up with some inventive harmonies, they utilize what I like to call “Deceptive Melodicism” all too often. That is to say that when you think the band could have inserted something truly exciting and beautiful into a particular progression, they suddenly change up, rendering what could have been an exciting and fulfilling melody unexciting and, for lack of a better word, boring. However, there are moments, such as the ones found on “Rings From Corona” and the occasional clean-guitar passage (opener “Botchla” and closer “Parks and What You Meant to Me”) where potential is fully realized. However, these moments, in my not-so-humble estimation, are too sparse to really make much of a difference, as by virtue of the all-around poor arrangement, A Tear From the Red, in my mind, is a sheer bore.
Whoever led singer Jeff Moreira to a microphone deserves the absolute utmost in public humiliation and scorn. In all honesty, how many more faceless, by-the-numbers, maudlin, faux-melodramatic vocalists do we need before music fans everywhere say “enough, already!!!”? Yes, on the harsher moments, Moreira can be effective (but no less irritating). However, when the time comes for a beautiful, uplifting refrain, Moreira makes it all come crashing down with some horribly offkey, contrived moaning! Deceptive Melodicism, anyone?
I suppose if I were to compliment A Tear From the Red it would be for its starkly beautiful and bleak layout and cover art (not to mention the utterly brilliant title "Sticks and Stones Never Made Sense"). However, is good art enough to equate good music? Of course not.
Now, in an effort to make myself appear less of an asshole to my readers, I want to point out that I tried, oh how I tried to like this album on a whole. I tried feeding it, talking to it, watering it when it was thirsty, reading it bedtime stories, and most of all, listened to it time and time again. But all my efforts proved to be fruitless as this album simply isn’t for me. Now, where in the Devil’s fetid kidneys did I leave that Belle & Sebastian album?
Review by Alec A. Head
Review date: 06/2002