It is rare when a band puts their biggest hit as their opening track; when a band is newer, like I Am The Avalanche it may just be the smartest move that they could do. With a bouncy bass line and a mixture between screaming and smoothed-out vocals. The production on tracks like “New Disaster” is strong and sure; when the track moves between the different speakers, one knows that I Am The Avalanche really has their combo brand of emo, punk and rock together.
The nice reggae influence on “Murderous” is nothing like the self-parody reggae that bands like 311 force upon their listening audience; in a sense, the slightly-snotty vocals present seem a little closer to Billy Talent (even as the chaotic backdrop of instrumentation screams out something like the Meat Puppets or Soul Asylum). The stop-start sound of “Green Eyes” is perhaps the first snag that I Am The Avalanche gets themselves into; the track itself is not weak, but really just does not bring much of anything new to the then-continually innovative music on the disc. However, I Am The Avalanche comes back in a strong way with the Ten Foot Pole (especially “Subliminable Messages-era”) sounding track “I Took A Beating”. With a simplistic, driving beat to fuel the catchy vocals thrown out on the track, listeners will be as titillated with this track as they were with the opening salvo. The slower tempo of “Wasted” really puts I Am The Avalanche into the “Untitled” (Simple Plan) brand of emotive, driven pop-punkers while this tone really seems to be solidified by “Always”.
The band tweaks the sound to reflect a slightly harder sound for “This Is Dungeon Music”; by incorporating AFI-all in choruses with a Sum 41 type of vocals, this late-disc track is just another star in I Am The Avalanche’s corona. There is a great deal of work within the same rigid framework, but I Am The Avalanche really tries their best to keep the disc interesting. The instrumentation could use some variety, but the vocal inflection (which jumps to something as wild as the Butthole Surfers for “Symphony”) may just be the disc saving grace. There may only be a few really strong tracks on the disc, but the bulk of the tracks stay clustered together at an above-average quality that will never bore or tire out a listener before the disc’s end.
Top Tracks: Emergency, Dead And Gone
I Am The Avalanche – S/T / 2005 Drive-Thru / 12 Tracks / http://www.iamtheavalanche.com / http://www.drivethrurecords.com / Reviewed 17 October 2005