The Color Morale

Hold on Pain Ends

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Midwestern metalcore quintet the Color Morale make their label debut for Fearless Records with Hold on Pain Ends, their fourth album overall. At this point in the Rockford-based band's career, most of the original members have turned over, leaving frontman Garret Rapp to essentially guide the band's direction. Riding a wave of success from their 2013 release Know Hope, Rapp and his bandmates continue with their dark vs. light formula, waging a passionately delivered campaign that again pits hope against themes of abandonment, loss, and rejection over a backdrop of technically airtight metal and post-hardcore riffs and rhythms. Employing a pretty standard array of clean and screamed vocals, Rapp's chorus melodies are generally strong and succinct and he's at his best doling out the clean, more harmonic fare. Lyrically, Hold on Pain Ends feels somewhat sophomoric. Rapp follows many of the standard aggro tropes of the genre and the tedious wordplay of songs like "Damnaged" and "Prey for Me" doesn't do a lot to set the Color Morale apart from the multitude of other pseudo/former faith-based bands working in this narrow milieu. But, what the aforementioned "Prey for Me" lacks in poetic grace, it makes up for musically with its bold arrangement and memorable melody. "Is Happiness a Mediocre Sin?" also stands out for its strong lead riffs and heavy but accessible chorus. The usual glitchy electronic elements weave throughout the album's ten songs and there is a strong pop element in many of the arrangements. While Hold on Pain Ends is generally well played and well produced, little new ground has been broken and by and large it comes across as a fairly standard, mainstream pop-oriented metalcore record.

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