Back in 2015, Swedish symphonic AOR-metal band / project The Murder Of My Sweet – led by drummer and song writer Daniel Flores and lead singer Angelica Rylin – released that year’s probably most surprising KO album, the concept album Beth Out Of Hell. Not that the album was the best album of 2015, it wasn’t, and not that I was surprised that they released a really good album because I wasn’t, but it surprised me that it was THAT good. Fact is, that album was nothing short of brilliant. See, the band’s two previous records were really good but I must admit, it’s not like I listen to them very often – it’s been quite a while since that happened – but that’s not the case with Beth Out Of Hell, that record is still safe and sound right in my iPhone – and in my CD collection. I know that to top an album like that is pretty much an impossible task and even though the band’s records have been better and better with each release and I have some really high expectations on the new album, I’m not sure that even I believe that this record will better the last one once again. But they did change the direction lyrically this time. The last album was a concept album, a cinematic record so this time they went in the opposite direction and wrote and album with separate themes for every song lyrically. The music, I reckon, will probably go in the same style of the last three albums.
Opener “Sleeping Giant” tells us that that is just the case – it’s symphonic, cinematic, pompous with synthesized strings and a darker edge. But somewhere along the way the song falters – a distinct verse and big vocals from Rylin takes the song on the right path but unfortunately the song falters when the chorus comes in. Where they should have had a big chorus that hits you right between the eyes, the melody just passes by and leaves me wondering when the climax will come. The song is alright, but it never passes the goal line. Leading single “Personal Hell” takes the big orchestral pomp into a more mid-tempo AOR way and while I believe it’s the right thing to do, the chorus never really catches on the way I had hoped and stops halfway to the finishing line. “Racing Heart” is a symphonic pop song with some metal chops thrown in and while Rylin sings the daylight out of the tune, it’s the damn chorus that is the trouble again and fails to do the trick – it refuses to catch on. But just when I start to worry big time, “Cry Wolf” comes in and saves the album, at least for the moment. It’s pompous, big on (synthesized) strings and the AOR sound mixes fine with the symphonic metal and the hooks are everywhere – and for the first time the chorus really hits like it should.
And things are shaping up big time with the title track, the best song so far. With a more straight forward melodic rock sound where the symphonic Nightwish / Evanescence influences comes more in the back water it gives the melodies and the killer chorus more space which lifts the song several steps. This is what I want in a TMOMS song! Unfortunately, “Flatline” takes us back to the more indifferent melodies and chorus that never really takes off. Sure, it sounds like TMOMS all the way, but the song fails to deliver like it should and I just can’t get the hang of it. Luckily enough, the grand ballad “Loud As A Whisper” brings things up again. It’s big, dark, bombastic and it sounds like it could have been taken right out of a musical or a movie. This band is obviously very good at doing this kind of ballads. “Shining After Dark” is another winner with its bombastic AOR sound and straight forward melodic rock hooks. There is a cinematic arrangement in there but it never takes over completely. Very catchy stuff. “Ode To everyone” is also really good. It might not be the album’s big savior but it does its job on being a good melodic hard rocker that sticks.
“Go On” on the other hand, is only ok at best. This modern pop rocker has a pretty good verse that does its job as far as building up some kind of momentum for the chorus, but the big one never shows up. Instead the chorus just keeps going and passes by unnoticed leaving a big space where the killer hook should have been. “In Risk Of Rain” feels stable enough but this symphonic melodic rock / AOR tune doesn’t strike where it should even though it comes with a good melody and a decent chorus. I can’t put my finger on what it is but there’s something missing here. So we have come to the final and what a final it is, this is what they call saving the best for last. It starts out as a piano ballad, full-blown with synth strings, pompous and grand like it has been taken right out of an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. Towards the end it heavies up with drums, bass and guitars and comes off more like a power ballad but with all the theatrical arrangements kept. I have a weak spot for songs like this so I dig this one big time – brilliant!
So, when all is said and done, this album is pretty much a disappointment for me. I don’t think it’s a bad album per se but that said, it doesn’t come up to the standard of their previous albums and it sure can’t hold a candle to its predecessor – not even close. I don’t really know what went wrong this time because the sound is all there, Rylin’s powerful and many times seductive vocals – she do sport a really broad range – is there, the production is over the top and over-blown (in a good way) as usual but the songs with the killer hooks and breathtaking choruses isn’t really present. Even some of the songs that I like are somewhat forgettable. Of course, it’s just a matter of taste and maybe the other guy will testify just how wrong I am here, but I’m wondering if this album was rushed, that they didn’t take enough time to make sure that everything was spot on – like it was the last time. Or maybe this album needs more time to grow on me. But the way I see it now, this album got lost on me.
Other The Murder Of My Sweet reviews:
1. Sleeping Giant
2. Personal Hell
3. Racing Heart
4. Cry Wolf
5. Echoes Of The Aftermath
7. Loud As A Whisper
8. Shining After Dark
9. Ode To Everyone
10. Go On
11. In Risk Of Rain
12. Inside Outside