We're about six weeks into the new year and 2014 is already shaping up to be the best year that I have experienced music-wise. Australia's five-piece progressive metalcore act Prepared Like A Bride recently signed to an independent label called Faction, which is distributed through Sony Music, and with this signing came the announcement of the band's debut full length, Overcomer – another album that I was really looking forward to.
Opening with "Blood Red," Overcomer starts off strong with a whole lot of ambience coupled with pounding and upbeat drumming. The harsh vocals pack a punch, as do the clean vocals – which is similar in style to that of Oli Sykes (Bring Me the Horizon). The following track, "2 AM," is the first of many tracks to hit you with an absolutely crushing breakdown; there's much more to it than just that, though. The guitars and vocals during the chorus are extremely impressive, and I always find myself singing along "I can't sleep tonight / I want to escape the prison inside my mind confining me."
One thing that surprised me is almost every track on Overcomer features clean vocals. The cleans heard in "1955" and "Silent Fear" stand out – but not in a good way. While the cleans sound good and fit well on the majority of the album, they sound awkward and out of place near the beginning of "1995." Similarly, during certain parts of "Silent Fear," the cleans are very weak; however, the instrumentation more than makes up for that on this particular track.
Prepared Like A Bride follows a similar blueprint for the remainder of the album – excluding the fairly redundant interlude, "9.11.12." "Ocean Tide" and "Through Hell" is an excellent pair of songs near the middle of the album. Both tracks see the guitarists bring some excellent guitar melodies to the table as well as take a page out of Northlane's book. "Alone" is another fairly interesting track. The guitar is pretty standard again, as it basically just chugs and grooves along, though the guitar in the background does help to add some diversity.
Occasionally, there is too much going on in Overcomer and it's easy to miss some of the best guitar work on the album. Despite that and the fact that Prepared Like A Bride isn't necessarily breaking new ground here, there isn't all too much to complain about. The album clocks in at a respectable 34 minutes and, while there is a lot of chugging and breakdowns, there is enough diversity that it doesn't become bland. Overcomer may be a bit predictable, but it's not bland – and it's most certainly a fun album to listen to.