Like the metamorphosis of a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon, And Then There Were None has emerged from the dark obscurity of New England's metal-core scene to stretch colorful wings broadly and proudly with the glamour of their freshly adapted style. The band has completely abandoned screams in favor of clean vocal harmony and pop melody hooks while replacing hardcore breakdowns with four on the floor dance beats and the 80s' charm of glittery synthesizer. Of this dramatic transformation a quote offered by frontman Matt Rhoades says, "Eventually I ran out of ideas for writing metal music, and began to write what came more naturally. To me, dance music is positive, and still incredibly emotionally based. There are no rules or norms and this allowed me more creative freedom in the writing process. I finally feel as though ATTWN has found its own unique sound." Having fortunately accrued the solid support of Tooth & Nail Records, the debut of Who Speaks for Planet Earth is immediately worthy of attention.
In the opening moments of the record, the intro's brief 40 seconds of static chaos is soon as obsolete as the band's former identity when the splendor of "John Orr The Arsonist" dramatically bursts into play with an elegance that flows throughout the album's 39 minute duration. The music is essentially a refined elemental fusion of rock, dance, electronica, and pop genres with passionate melody and smart harmony sung with quality vocals that encourage repeated listens in any setting and make each track like sweet candy to the ears. The techno beats are fun and the catchiness of each tune covers the monotony of the kick drum.
Although many of the lyrics are dominantly "she" focused, it's wonderful just for a band with this style to promote morally clean messages even if they're not necessarily presenting the gospel. For example, the single "Reinventing Robert Cohn" seems to describe a guy struggling with the sexual temptation of a girl in the lines, "she loves temptation but temptation has no place in me… and she's the one I see who screams go on go on / she doesn't know who I am / I really want to tell her that this can't go on tonight." The words in the song "John Orr The Arsonist" ("Taking chances or just breathing in vain / the four lives lost at cost were twenty times less worth your name / this is a heart attack and you want your life back… but your selfish pride will take the lives of others you could save"), seem to urge Christians to shine the light of Christ without shame or fear of being unpopular. The prayerful second verse of "Insozzz," "fill my lungs with everything but apathy / let me breathe again," resonates memorably as the song fades slowly to finish out the album with class.
Basically, Who Speaks for Planet Earth is a record that capitalizes on its extremely trendy nature, and especially considering the success rate of Tooth & Nail Records, And Then There Were None is likely to quickly become one of the break out artists of the year. In the future, they may find it tough to create a follow up to such a positive release but, until then, these 11 songs comprise a strikingly entertaining debut.- Review date: 2/22/09, written by Tim Harro of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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