I would have to say that I was a little disappointed upon receiving the new disc by Straight Line Stitch. With 11 songs and a running time of just over 40 minutes it is done way too soon! Fans of female fronted metalcore are in for a real treat with this one and they are going to get a disc which shows a band that has matured both musically and in message since their last offering When Skies Wash Ashore. The band has been through a lot since that release and those experiences have helped create an album that sonically and emotionally hit you in many different ways.
Starting out with a message of determination, "Never Surrender" kicks off the disc with a bang that really shows the growth of the band. Alexis Brown uses her clean singing voice to promote her message of hope and also employes her screaming in the background to emphasize the grit that is needed to get there. Musically this is a much more melodic type of song from the band and the way that they deliver the whole package will give you a little boost of encouragement to continue the fight.
Don't think that they have abandoned their metalcore roots though, with a vengeance Alexis unleashes her powerful screaming ability on the very next tune "No Tomorrow". Using both vocal styles to counterbalance each other, the band takes you from hardcore to melodic at the flip of the switch and this contrast is their biggest asset. When you have a lead singer with this much talent it is wise to use that ability to the max and Straight Line Stitch knows this fact. From the totally hardcore to the mainstream melodic, this band takes you from the peaks to the valleys with this roller coaster ride. You are best served by strapping yourself in and just enjoy the ride.
The first single and video from the album is for the metal frenzy they call "Conversion". This headbanging extravaganza brings out the best in the band and is a wise choice that should bring many new fans into the fold. The hard/soft combo this time around shows them at the extreme ends of the spectrum and will appeal to fans of both styles. Even though SLS uses this formula quite often it is not the only way that they present there music. "Sound Of Silence" is 3 and ½ minutes of pure mayhem and then you have "Ashes In The Wind" which sticks to the melodic complete with some tasty orchestration and dynamic guitar work by Seth Thacker and Kris Norris. No matter how you slice it up, this disc is a diverse metal treat to the ears that has a soothing aspect to it thanks to Miss Brown.
Having seen Straight Line Stitch live, I look forward to hearing the new material delivered from the stage. The powerhouse named Alexis has a commanding stage presence and a lot of this material will make the mosh pit a truly hazardous place to be. There is an energy on this album and a confidence that oozes out which becomes a part of you the listener. It is a habit forming album so beware. There is a growing population of Straight Line Stitch addicts and no 12 step cure! Excuse me while I go get another fix.
1. Never Surrender
2. No Tomorrow
3. Laughter In The Rearview
5. Tear Down The Sky
6. One Reason
7. Cold Front
8. Sound Of Silence
9. Bar Room Brawl
10. Ashes In The Wind
11. Living Dead