Middlebury, Vermont, is home to Tragic Fallacy, a riff-happy quintet that plays with the energy of punk and the crunch of metal. Their self-titled debut favors passion over technique, with spirited, if sloppy, results.
Following a homemade comedy routine, the disc kicks off with "Invisible," a surging tune with both screamed and melodic vocals. Ben Mench Thurlow's tribal toms provide an anchor for guitarists Olin Shumacher and Jesse Mench Thurlow's careening riffs. The mixture of angst and exuberance is kid-friendly, but might not play well with more seasoned headbangers.
"If Screaming Had a Color (It Would Probably Be Black)" continues the loud/soft formula with mixed results. The track has plenty of heart but is marred by distracting tempo fluctuations and guitar misfires.
"Stuck in My Head" is a minor improvement. It opens with a clean guitar passage that would be more interesting if refined a bit further. Singer Isaiah Reed turns in a couple of off-key verses about soured romance before launching into a guttural howl. He's more convincing at the latter, with a roar to match the instrumental aggression.
"Burnout" features shifting time signatures that never quite coalesce. TF need to do a lot more woodshedding before attempting this kind of rhythmic complexity. But, hey, even Dillinger Escape Plan had to start somewhere.
"Justice" contains a worthy riff or two, but Reed's vocals are a little too whiny for my tastes. Why is it that the most prominent singing styles in today's heavy rock are tortured squawks and cookie-monster grumbles?
The pummeling guitars of "Half Lived" start out strong but ultimately fail to develop. On the other hand, the chugging breakdowns and start-stop riffs of "Remember" are actually pretty solid. The prominent Metallica-isms on "Our End" give the song a familiar feel, but the out-of-tune riffs are not yet arena-worthy.
For now, Tragic Fallacy are neither catchy nor brutal. Still, they get an A for effort. With a bit more practice, the band might just break out of the metalcore bush league. I'm looking forward to it.