Compared to somewhat similar bands such as Touché Amoré, La Dispute and Pianos Become The Teeth, I think it’s fair to say The Saddest Landscape never received the same amount of attention. This time around these guys seem to have given it their all, but honestly… I’m not sure if “Darkness Forgives” will change that.
The band’s new album finds them sounding bigger than ever before. When they go for melodic, they are more melodic than on past releases. Similarly, when they switch to heavy, they are heavier than they’ve ever been. At the same time they seem hell-bent on finding out just how many different ideas and rhythm changes you can cram into a single song. While this does add variety to the album, it also tends to turn things into something of a blur where you can’t tell where one song ends and another begins.
The vocals then. There is a moment in “’Til Our Ears Bleed” where vocalist Andy Maddox whispers ‘we’re still singing like we mean it’. And that’s what he does here… singing like he means it, not because he means it. It all seems a bit forced and over the top emotional when his voice cracks for the umpteenth time.
It’s weird. “Darkness Forgives” is definitely not a bad album. The Saddest Landscape are adept at what they do and try out some new ideas along the way. Yet at the same time, monotony strikes after the first couple of songs. Coupled to the vocals that drag the album down a notch, “Darkness Forgives” left me with a lukewarm feeling.