Clocking in at just under 33 minutes, Abandon All Ships’ Infamous leaves little room to slow. The first single, title track “Infamous” is an unrivaled assault of brutal breakdowns and catchy choruses, and sets the bar high for the subsequent 8 tracks. But it seems the album is extremely hit or miss, with not a whole lot of grey area.
Beginning with “Good Old Friend,” an immediately recognizable blend of hard rave and even harder metal rears its adequately prepared for head-banging brain. Moments later, AAS-star Martin Broda instigates his own assault, lacking the punch of the preceding screams, but making up for it in raw emotion and fanciful descant. The track asserts an even bigger sound than the last album, and is inarguably hard-hitting. “Good Old Friend” blends seamlessly into title track “Infamous” with its digital glitch shouts that in no way prepare the listener for the irresistible chorus extremely uncharacteristic of the metalcore genre. Egotistical lyrics are fine once in a while, as long as the guys don’t make it a habit, and they do make for a perfect segway into the hip-hop bridge. Finally, the outro of the song can only be described as killer. Sadly, only 3 songs in and the album begins to lose its edge. “Less Than Love” is properly named as a single that’s less than lovable. It does however brag a wholly unexpected breakdown from a band that is known for their unexpected breakdowns. With its overpowering synths, “Ahmed” sounds like it could at any second break into any one of the hundreds of current mainstream pop hits. 808 bass drum precedes a fantastic drop-key culmination that would do fine ending just about any track on the album.
“American Holocaust” is driven by fairly straightforward double-bass that really just doesn’t work for whatever reason. This single lacks any real outstanding moments, much like the rest of the album. “August” would make for an unadulterated lead single for a Martin Broda solo album, but it breaks this particular album’s stride, which is one of the only things it’s got going for it at this point. “Forever Lonely” is an extraordinary let-down after being hinted at at the end of “Infamous.” Expecting hardcore gltch that may have redeemed the second half of the album, I instead found a mess of overly produced autotune.
The powered synthline of “Made For Gold” is reminiscent of Geeving’s “Strange Love,” which isn’t a bad thing, and the return of a catchy chorus and calculated screams gets “Faded” back on the right track. Finally, “Brothers For Life” presents one of the first screaming refrains, which works remarkably well, and programmed drum fills make for a compensatory finale.
Anyone simply writing off Abandon All Ships as an Emmure carbon-copy is mistaken. Pretty-boy chorales and trance instrumentation make for a style all their own. Regrettably however, after picking out each of AAS’ member’s individual contributions, it is this author’s opinion that they’re squandering their talent here. It seems that each could build a pretty large following on their own.
Go Download: “Good Old Friend,” “Infamous (feat. A-Game)”
review by Elijah Kampsen