The Prisoner’s Dilemma is one of those releases which you can debate the originality of its contents and how easy it is to place side by side with many other same genre bred bands, but there is something about I, The Writer and their form of melodic metalcore which certainly engages deeper and longer than most. Hailing from London, the sextet with their debut full-length release shows a craft and imagination which leads thoughts and feelings to suggest that there is a real promise and presence within their grasps, an assumption that eventually we will see them forging their own identity. If it does not came to bear, on the evidence of their first album it will still be a pleasing and solidly appetising ride with the band anyway.
Taking wide influences from the likes of Memphis May Fire, August Burns Red, Killswitch Engage, and Linkin Park into their own ideas and invention, I, The Writer made their presence noticed back in the autumn of 2011 with debut EP The Narrow Minded coming the following year. Extremely positively received in the UK and beyond, the release and stature of the band was supported and elevated by performances alongside the likes of Being as an Ocean, With One Last Breath, Napoleon, Against The Flood, Our People Versus Yours and many more. Signing with Self Made Records earlier this year, the band now make their biggest statement of intent with The Prisoner’s Dilemma and though it does not flatten down existing boundaries for metalcore it undoubtedly tantalises and awakens a strong appetite for their sound.
The album opens up with the decent enough instrumental Forever…, a brief scenery painting which leads into …Falling To Pieces, a track which seizes its moment and savagely chews on the senses with djent pilfered strikes and voracious rhythmic antagonism whilst melodic atmospheres weave a fire within the intensive engagement. The strong dual vocal attack of John Dudley and Mitch Richards with their corrosive and clean deliveries, though from the promo it is unclear who provides which aspect, makes a potent focal point within the abrasive tempest and as mentioned though the track does not startle against other bands there is an underlying, whispering persuasion that leaves a long term and tempting touch.
Both the following To Be A Man and Chin Up impose their strengths in the strong start of the album, the first an immediate abrasive lure with the guitars of Dan Cuaces and Nejib Kthiri stirring up the air and senses with entangled sonic twisting and evocative play within another confrontational badgering whilst its successor snarls and scuffs up the ear vocally and musically from the off to provide a charge of sonic teeth within a carnivorous jaw that is exceptional. The drum work of Kaine Levy never relents in threatening and challenging the listener whilst the bass of Josh Levy skirts the senses like a rabid beast preying on the victims of the ever scarring riffs and guitar enterprise. The merger of clean and melodic elements to the ravaging breath of the song is impressive though for once such the intensive pleasure gained from the untamed assault it outshone the mellower casts.
The likes of Faith You Breathe and Taken From The Teeth, which features Ricky Armellino of This or the Apocalypse, skilfully reinforce the impact of the album if without reaching the heights of the songs before, whilst This Night Will End tempts and barracks the ear with jagged guitar taunts and a vocal narrative that continually shuffles up its approach to match the simultaneously shifting thought and sound of the song. It is probably fair to say that some tracks on the album hold too much of at least a surface similarity though delving deeper does bring a distinction which cannot be dismissed, something Until The Pendulum Learns To Walk does its inventive best to prove. A resourceful and passion drenched song it makes an unpredictable break in the scheme of things whilst still being firmly aligned to all around, and emerges if not the most explosive track the most inventive on the album.
The release is completed by the more than decent Past The Void and Standing Brave, two once again well designed and defined songs but a pair wrapped in an already established wash on the release. They do emphasise the rich promise and existing craft of I, The Writer with ease and like The Prisoner’s Dilemma as a whole, suggests there is a great band emerging from this strong and satisfying base.
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