Iron Maiden like guitars mix with Converge styled vocals to provide listeners with a bombastic opening to this, their full length debut on Clockwork Recordings (Pluto records imprint founded by Tim from As I Lay Dying). The virtuosity of the guitar lines laid down by Addy and Caleb is immediately noticeable, with influences for them coming in a wide swath, ranging from Duran Duran to Slayer, U2 to Sick of It All. Even when the music is not soaring way above the crowd with sizzling guitar solos, the technical aspect of Life In Pictures is one to behold, with chaotically timed arrangements like in ”Eric Hilborn” really maintaining a listener’s interest. This is not to say that the two distinct styles found in Life In Pictures are kept separate; one need only look at “Wrecking Ball And Chain” which has the high high-hat use and metal guitars but also deliberate and nuanced arrangements that will take someone listening in a multiple number of times before fully recognizing their beauty. Let us not forget that with each subsequent track on Life In Pictures, the band endears themselves to their listeners by providing tracks that incorporate sections from some of the best bands in a variety of genres.
“Needle in a Haystack” is a perfect example of this, mixing together Deliverance-era Corrosion of Conformity with Fear Factory’s style of drumming (thanks Dustin), splashing a hair band-level of theatricality to the end. There are some tracks on Life In Pictures that almost feel like “breather” tracks – while they are still miles above what most normal emocore bands are able to do, they really are not up to that same level that as demarcated this disc so far. This is the case with “Positive Mental Attitude”, which suffers from a repetition of nearly the same elements found in previous tracks on this disc while incorporating a late-nineties rock feel to the rest.
Life In Pictures disc is sick, there is no denying that, and it will be interesting to see exactly what is next for this band from Arizona. AThe fact that the album is nearly an hour long and yet it feels like it is a most-lean half-hour is a testament into how involved Life In Pictures will get their listeners. Virtuosity, the most austere musicianship, and an ear for what the average listener likes are all hallmarks for this band, and there is no doubt that they will succeed in their endeavors.
Top Tracks: Eric Hilborn, Hit Me With It
Rating : 7.9/10
Life In Pictures – By The Sign of the Spyglass / 2005 Pluto Records / 11 Tracks / http://www.lifeinpictures.cc / http://www.clockworkdrecords.com / Reviewed 30 April 2005