Tear from the Red

by: Poison the Well

Poison the Well broke open the floodgates in the metalcore community with their full-length debut, The Opposite of December, an album that influenced many hardcore bands to enhance their musical creativity with bursts of melody that contrasted well with the typical anger and fury that had previously spearheaded the genre. Naturally Poison the Well found themselves with quite a bit of pressure to follow through with a follow-up album that would likewise surface head and shoulders above the rest of the raging river of newfound "emotional metalcore" bands that followed in their wake. Tear from the Red was completed in only a matter of weeks as a result, and while the album continues Poison the Well's dream of molding emotion and melody into the average hardcore style, it also is not as spellbinding as was their debut. The almost indie rock melody of "Horns and Tails" is staggering but not a tremendous surprise for any fan who has followed the band's career, and while the metal aspect is still fully intact, it has seemingly lost its explosive impact. After a year of hearing bands push the boundaries of the genre Poison the Well helped create, Tear from the Red is refreshing but does not quite quench the thirst that they themselves gave birth to. This album certainly is a competent metalcore album, and for all purposes it covers every base required and even furthers Poison the Well's experimental spark. It just isn't the messiah it was claimed to be. That aside, it is surely Poison the Well's most marketable album to date, and will likely introduce the group, possibly the whole genre, to a wider audience. The intense opener, "Botchla" allows longtime fans the chance to reacquaint themselves with the band, and many of the songs contained within feel like an extension of The Opposite of December. Tear from the Red succeeds on many levels, and although the album legitimately sounds rushed, it should help shed light on the vast hardcore scene many have no understanding of. Does this meet expectations? Not quite. The 30-minute running time is a letdown, but it certainly is Poison the Well's most balanced music to date. Tear from the Red is equally as impressive as The Opposite of December, but given how much hype that went into the disc, just being equal to the debut is moderately disappointing. Fans who expected a major evolution may feel left in the cold, but there is definitely enough contained to satisfy average fans. ~ Jason D. Taylor

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