The Fall of Troy – In The Unlikely Event
Ever since 2003’s self-titled debut, The Fall of Troy have delighted (and depending on your stance, annoyed) listeners with their unique mishmash of art-rock noodling and dissonant hardcore screamo sessions. Since then, the band has forged a path for themselves, dicking around with their sound along the way, yielding both positive and negative results. 2005’s Doppleganger was the turning point for the band; with rehashes of some self-titled originals (including the teenage girl and Guitar Hero favourite “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X”) and a fluster of new classics, it was a hardcore triumph. For some, the blend of sexy hip-shaking verses complimented by Thomas Erak‘s distinct yelp and breakdowns more monumental than anyone else at the time was simply too much. Many found the band to be unique; they sounded like no one else, yet had elements of everyone else.
2007 saw the release of Manipulator, a record that formed a positively destructive relationship between toothgrinders like “Ex-Creations” and “Sledgehammer”, with poppy numbers like “Caught Up” and “Oh! The Casino!” The band followed that up with last year’s Phantom on the Horizon, the highly-anticipated professional re-recordings of their much-loved Ghostship Demos.
Needless to say, The Fall of Troy have made their way by following their own rules, and kicking ass and taking names along the way. In The Unlikely Event sees them continuing this pardon, by slowly shifting out of the hardcore sound that made them a household scene name, and exchanging it for a more streamlined, rock approach. Tracks like “Single”, “Battleship Graveyard” and “Nobody’s Perfect” – the latter of which is one of the best Fall of Troy songs thus far – are the archetypes for near-perfect results of their new sound. Verse-chorus-verse formulas are utilized intelligently, with the band throwing in enough changes to keep the old fans happy, while eventually ending up in passages heavy enough to make King Kong cry.
On the other – much larger – side of the fence, there are the blowhardedly obvious attempts at mediocrity; “Webs” is a brutal (in the bad way) ballad that utilizes an all-too-familiar chord progression without ever reaching its potential, “Panic Attack!” is played too slow to be effective and “A Classic Case of Transference” tries to mimic old Fall of Troy – something that does not work with the new band dynamic. A whole lot of the record feels like the band is forcing themselves to try something different, without honestly feeling like they should. It is when it is natural that In the Unlikely Event is a worthwhile addition to the Fall of Troy catalogue. Unfortunately, there are too many skipworthy tracks – something that has never happened on any of the band’s previous releases. Also, “Empty the Clip, The King has been Slain, Long Live the Queen” wins the award for best song title used for a song that doesn’t deserve it.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the production on this record is much better than previous releases. It seemed that, other than the self-titled, the band hasn’t been able to find a sound on record that suits them. This is the closest they have come to it in awhile. Secondly, it is sad to see Thomas stop screaming almost entirely, especially when it sounds more badass than ever when he does use it (“Straight-Jacket Keelhauled”). Lastly, the band really should have put “The Vomiting Winter” on the album. It is understandable why they didn’t do it, but judging from the demos, it is one of the best – if not the best – songs the band has written.
There are moments to be had on In The Unlikely Event, but a lot of it feels like a transition record stuffed with filler. On the other hand, there are some tracks that portray a band fully realizing their new direction. However, they aren’t able to maintain the level of confidence throughout the entire disc, ultimately ending up in a tangled mess that feels like part old Fall of Troy, part new Fall of Troy, and part Fall of Troy trying to be some other band. Hey, at least we have a couple tracks to add to our Best Of Fall of Troy playlist.