The Dark Horse

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The debut full-length by Rochester metalcore quartet Achilles is a little more complex than many similar records. Achilles have all the standard attributes in spades: hoarse, screaming singer, start-stop dynamics, brittle rhythms, heavy-riffing guitars, all that stuff. But they put it together a bit differently than a lot of other bands. Although they're not a technical metal band in that they don't try to blind the listener with the speed and complexity of their playing (though all the players are entirely adept), Achilles do show a fondness for richer instrumental parts than many hardcore bands, even to the point of sprinkling the album with a few instrumental interludes between the proper songs. There's even one song that comes surprisingly close to being poppy, the album highlight, "Wake Me When It Thunders." The lyrics, as is often the case with this style of music, are a weak point, but the average hardcore band's lyrics are so remarkably lame that most fans of the style become quite good as tuning them out, so it's not a particular distraction. There is little on The Dark Horse that truly advances the cause of metalcore, but what Achilles do, they do better than most.

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