Facedown Records is full of metal acts--many of which are quite exceptional--but Attalus is a very interesting change-up from the typical Facedown roster entry. Attalus is extremely versatile on Into the Sea, but the majority of the material can best be classified as post-hardcore. Certain songs, like "Albatross," even share a sound similar to a band like Emery. The album title and cover art suggest a nautical theme and the song titles and lyrics back it up as nearly every track has a seafaring title and/or lyrical analogy. As expected from a Facedown artist, Attalus wears their faith on their proverbial sleeves and offer up deep and challenging lyrical messages to listeners.
The opening track is a short 53-second instrumental that starts with the sound of the ocean, a ship and bells. When the music starts, you immediately get the feeling that you're in a scene of a movie similar to Pirates of the Caribbean. The fun-loving tune comes to an abrupt ending and immediately picks up the pace with the punk-inspired "The Ship is Going Down." This opening duo should prepare you for the musical variety to be found as the album progresses. "The Ship is Going Down," alone, features several musical shifts and sounds more like a four-part piece than just a regular rock song. From this point forward, the music continues to impress. Each song seems to have its own unique approach and sound. The most important point of note is that no matter how excellent the composition, the outstanding lyrics cut through and make the message the focal point behind a pretty amazing backdrop. For this reviewer, "The Breath Before the Plunge" takes the cake as the best track. The piano that drives the song gives it the feel of a sea shanty and the yelled vocals (that are almost spoken word in the verse) really make it stand out. To top it off, and really round it out as the best, is the grooving chorus. Other notable tracks present are: the previously mentioned "The Ship is Going Down," "Desolate Isle," "Step Out," "Into the Sea" and "Safe." It's honestly hard to pick out a track that doesn't sound great in its own right.
Unfortunately, the thing that makes Into the Sea so great is also its biggest weakness. Outside of the intro, the shortest song is 3:01, with the longest being 8:28. The album's total run time is just over 81 minutes--basically the length of a movie. While the music is far from a chore to endure for that length, it's just really hard to devote that much time to listening to a record. While listening, I found myself getting frustrated as I would only make it ¾ of the way through before having to turn it off (for one reason or another). It became a difficult task to devote the proper time to listen to the complete product as intended by the band. There really isn't any filler, but perhaps packaging it differently (i.e. a 2-disc set), or releasing it in a similar fashion to Showbread's Anorexia and Nervosa, would have made the massive amount of content slightly easier to digest.
Attalus is not a band you will find every day. Their devotion to creating excellent and diverse music is at an almost unmatched level and their lyrical content is outstanding. The biggest issue with the record is just finding the time to sit down and enjoy it in its entirety from front to back. Once you do, you'll swear that the album is only half that length -- as the time will likely fly by. Into the Sea manages to keep a central theme with the nautical references and, on top of that, does a nice job of keeping it fresh the entire time. The band offers up both a stellar musical and lyrical writing prowess, and while there will definitely be songs that you like more than others, there likely isn't one that you are going to really dislike either. I guess you're in a pretty good place when the only real complaint is that there is too much good music to enjoy at one time.- Review date: 6/18/15, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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