REVIEW: THE COLOR MORALE – “Desolate Divine”
We live in a world that entertains fusion. There are a lot of musical acts that push the boundaries of what sound can do and be perceived as. Some of them make a dent, while others are just a passing thought in an oversaturated market of bands peddling sub-standard soundscapes.
The Color Morale exists somewhere in the space where the sincerity in their music helps them brave the turbulent waters of the ocean that is the music industry. They still have a long way to go, but I can hear that they love what they do, and from what I’ve seen, their shows are heaps of fun.
The most recent release from this Illinois quintet, titled ‘Desolate Devine’, merges some elements of post-rock with your staple metalcore sound and breakdowns. The question to ask is whether they’ve made enough of a mark in fabric that already has big bands like Parkway Drive, Bring Me the Horizon and Killswitch Engage. I would say they are definitely in the right direction.
The LP opens with “Lonesome Soul” which has a really uncanny resemblance to Sevendust’s “Enemy”. As an opening track, it delivers. It’s got its head bobbing moments, which is a good sign for any metal band. “Clip Paper Wings”, “Misery Hates Company” and “Broken Vessel” are fun tracks through and through; they’re what you would get if you asked Simple Plan and Parkway Drive to collaborate. I’m an avid fan of Pop-Punk, and while that may be a very unpopular opinion, I can’t help being drawn to campy, cheesy melodies. There is definitely some effort that some songs put in to have epic moments, some great examples of this tenant being “Walls” and “Fauxtographic Memory”.
Massive shout-out to bassist Mike Honson for doing “Trail of Blood” justice. The rhythm section is very strong in this group, so it only goes without saying that drummer Steve Carey has got the chops. However, “Home Sweet Home”, “Version of Me” and “Perfect Strangers” give you the same of what you’ve heard, culminating in “Keep Me in My Body” which, while being a good song in itself, still falls short of some dynamism.
Vocalist Garret Rapp explores his vocal range, alternating between clean singing and metalcore screams and does a good job at it; the only problem being that there is no emotional variation. The vocals show either anger or moody reflection. While both emotions are well-supported by guitar work by Devin King and Aaron Saunders, the absence of other emotions holds the band back in terms of other sounds they should be exploring.
The Color Morale do have the work ethic and chops to deliver, but have unfortunately played it safe on this LP. While that is not a bad thing, the current atmosphere deserves bands willing to push their sound into unknown realms. I’m pretty sure the group does not care about labels or genre-branding, which means they have all the artistic freedom to do whatever they want, provided the label they are on, are game.