Review by Shannon Shumaker
If I had to choose one word to describe Arms For Elephants’ new album, My Judas Scene, it would be “stunning.” While it starts off on a slightly rocky foot, My Judas Scene is an album that just seems to grow and bloom as it progresses, and by the time it comes to an end, you’ll want to listen to it all over again.
Kicking off the album is “The Business of Barely Getting By,” which starts with a pretty and memorable lead guitar hook, and when the clean vocals come in, the song really just seems to bloom. The only downside, however, is that those clean vocals sound a bit too loud, overpowering that strong guitar part and taking away from the great instrumentation that otherwise carries the song. The following song, “The Laws That Guide My Feet,” however, is a great snapshot of Arms For Elephants. They seem to find more of a balance with this track, with a great clean vocal melody, strong unclean vocal and great guitar work that really carries tha song, quickly becoming its backbone. The vocals aren’t overpowering on this track, and the guitar part toward the end of it is incredibly strong, creating the perfect ending for the mood of the song.
“In Memory” provides a softer side to Arms For Elephants, and the result honestly couldn’t be better. The soft, ambient instrumentals in the beginning of the track are the perfect mood setter, and when the full band finally comes together, it just feels right. “In Memory” progresses very naturally and beautifully on top of some strong and poetic lyricism. Following “In Memory” is some of the strongest guitar work on the album on “In Faith and Doubt” and “My Judas Scene.” One of the most aggressive songs on the album, “My Judas Scene” leads with unclean vocals full of anger and frustration, contrasting amazingly with a song like “In Memory.” The tension in “My Judas Scene” is also a nice change of pace.
“Separated” provides yet another side of Arms For Elephants. Starting off with somber acoustic guitar, this song is relatively mellow, but isn’t lacking in that soul in the vocals or strong songwriting that the harder hitting songs on the album host. In fact, Arms For Elephants almost shine more on this quiet, stripped down track, which gives them nothing to hide behind. The vocal harmonies in this song are also absolutely jaw dropping, and the soft line, “All I wanted was you,” is heartbreakingly beautiful.
“Empty Hands” is gorgeous and soft much like “Separated.” The multiple vocal parts in this track mesh amazingly together over soft and beautiful guitar work, creating the perfect ending to this album. My Judas Scene keeps listeners on their toes, as no two songs sound the same. The clean vocals are captivating, and the screams are aggressive and emotional. All of that on top of incredible guitar work throughout the entire album creates ten songs that are sure to hit home with listeners.
Listen to "The Laws That Guide My Feet" or "Separated"