For Fans Of
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of works by Japanese horror manga artist, Junji Ito. Ito is renowned for his truly disturbing and horrific tales, tales that cover a wide spectrum of the genre; from body-horror, cosmic horror, and psychological horror, to bizarre mysteries that leave one with a profound sense of unease. Ito’s works are indeed horrifying, but I’ve recently learned that one of life’s truest horror’s is the new I Prevail album, ‘Lifelines’.
Before allowing consent for I Prevail’s music to invade your ears, one can accurately predict what this band sounds like by just two factors; their band name and that they’re signed to Fearless Records. That should tell all you really need to know about genre-wise, as does the fact that these guys are more known for their heavy rendition of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ than their actual original music. I suppose that they hope to escape that deep, dark shadow with this debut album, but after listening to it a number of times (nine times, to be exact), I think they’ll need all the damn help they can get with such a fruitless endeavour.
See, ‘Lifelines‘ is just one of the countless overly-poppy, watered down metal records the heavy music world has had to endure over the past decade or so, and not even close to being one of the “better” ones, either. And six fucks from Sunday is this thing bad!
With a dual vocal style that was run deep into the ground years ago, tight and solid but ultimately unimaginative drumming, a plethora of piss-weak breakdowns and repetitive guitar riffs that land with zero impact, there’s a lot to dislike here.
Much like this year’s Australian federal election, you’re just spoiled for choice with all of the shit on offer.
IP’s instrumentation and vocal deliveries are competent but never fully engaging, whereas their lyrical themes and overall compositions are also quite shallow. Save for just two songs, there’s a real lack of musical variation on not only an individual song level but across the album as a complete body of work too. Now, musically simple songwriting and instrumentation isn’t a cardinal sin, nor is a lack of variety honestly, but here, it only kills this record faster what with the downright generic metalcore flavour squirted over all of these songs. Songs, that might I add, are not in the least bit sonically interesting nor having anything important to say. (In before “but metalcore can’t be interesting or have anything important to say”, ha ha ha, good joke, 10/10).
But hey, look, ‘Scars‘ was a… decent opening song and it wasn’t completely awful, if only because it was the album’s first song and its memory was replaced by the insipid tracks that all followed it. So let’s look at a few of the worst offenders. Not the title track, though, that song was actually okay, surprisingly.
‘Stuck In Your Head’ will never accomplish its namesake and as such, we can all thankfully retain what’s left of our collective sanity. On the staggeringly average and uninspiring single ‘Come And Get It’ there’s a lyric that goes “You can say what you want, you’ll never be me”. Oh, thank god for that! I was worried for a second there that I was stuck in a shitty, immensely derivative metalcore band. Phew.
The catchiest song on the album is by far the upbeat ‘One More Time’, which is a sickeningly glossy, down-right mediocre pop-punk wannabe track that has “next single” written all over it. ‘Alone‘ is just as sappy as it shows the band trying their hand at a synth-happy rock ballad and I just prayed for the sweet release of death every time it came on. The somewhat heavier than usual ‘Already Dead‘ made me laugh hysterically at first until I realised that the early lyric of “If I could bring you back to life, I’d kill you again” wasn’t a joke and that it was potentially the band being serious and/or edgy. Oh, lordy.
Also, while writing up this review I actually saw another Australian critic say that ‘Already Dead‘ and that aforementioned lyric gave the album “more depth”. And christ, seeing that was just as cringe-worthy as the initial lyric itself. (Y’all have Google, I’m sure you’ll find which outlet said that.)
Now, when I first looked at the track listing within the subpar media player that is Play MPE (god, why can’t everyone just use Haulix for pre-release streams?) I noticed a song titled ‘My Heart I Surrender’. I immediately picked this out to be the cheesy acoustic track but thought that would’ve been too easy of a guess. Well, I’ll trust my own judgment better next time because sure enough, it was indeed a token, phoned-in acoustic track that had about as much staying power as the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Sure, it breaks up the pace of the record and it shows a much lighter side to the band’s sound, but just like Tonight Alive’s latest experiment in garbage, that does not make it good!
As you traverse the disposable sonic landscape that is the back half of ‘Lifelines‘, you’ll find ‘Pull The Plug’, a lacklustre forgettable affair that replicates the same metal/rock template of the preceding songs. In fact, pulling the plug on their band is really what this group should have done. Now, look, I’m not above aiming for the low hanging writer fruit in this review because I Prevail sure as shit went for the low hanging musical fruit with this record!
Finally, we hit album closer, ‘Worst Part Of Me‘.
Now, I was originally going to argue that this song’s great because it meant that the album was over, but then I realised that that simply indicated that I’d actually sat through the soul-crushingly boredom that is ‘Lifelines‘ more than once. Goddamnit.
Okay, look, I’m done. I am done talking about this horrendously bland record and if I ever listen to it again, it’ll be far too fucking soon.
Although, I suppose one real saving grace about ‘Lifelines‘ is that this wasn’t as bad as the new Skillet or A Day To Remember albums were. So that’s… something.
[Update, Dec 5th: No, it is worse than those aforementioned albums. Only Corey Feldman’s album is worse than this forsaken thing.]
Escape, my friends, escape! Flee from this review now, lest thee be sucked into the mind-numbingly bland and cripplingly mediocre affair that is I Prevail’s ‘Lifelines’.
Fly, you fools!
- Stuck In Your Head
- Come And Get It
- Already Dead
- Pull The Plug
- One More Time
- My Heart I Surrender
- Worst Part Of Me
‘Lifelines’ is out October 21st via Fearless Records. I would highly recommend you go listen to something better…like the new To The Wind album. Now, there’s a great record! I’d link that below but I’m kinda obliged to link an I Prevail song. Sorry.