7 songs for 29 minutes compose the US five-piece's first opus, a unit including members of Atreyu (Travis Miguel), Hotwire and Scars Of Tomorrow, and featuring guest vocals by Jeff Jaworski (Red Tape, Will Haven); the act's lifespan should hopefully last more than the time usually occupied by a project band due to the extreme care in every respect and the elevated quality of the songs and the recording broadly speaking, with particular reference to the pounding drums.
Fake Figures' musicians and singer's ability are at best expressed when contrasts between fierceness and irresistible seductiveness are exposed at near distance, and this very strong point is also perceivable from the front and back cover of the digipack where respectively a hungry big beast and a beautiful blonde able to let our resistances collapse are shown.
Analyzing the tracks in detail, we immediately realize the north American lords deal with evolved post-HC, as displayed in "Perfect No One"; angry structures and mid-tempos followed by Punk vocals are accompanied by a huge demolition ball-like rhythmic section.
"Day of Peril" starts low-fi and mixed low, then it blows out with all its power; the song is basically Punk with various vocals, some effected, others catchy; all of the vocals are amazing, and so not surprisingly are the arrangements. This composition is the epitome of the quintet's finest characteristics, with several mid tempos opposed to outbursts which must've complicated the sound engineer's existence a lot due to a smart and massive recurse to compressors and noise gates. The final riff is simply devastating and closes the track, so that it's never gonna be forgotten.
It's time for "Something Deadly" and the perfect mix of wickedness, large doses of energy and gripping tunes makes our day! Keep tight, cuz a melodic break in the wake of Alice In Chains is coming and also owing to the fact that this track is more Metal than Hardcore/Punk, but especially since the sombre clean vocals alteranted with the screamed ones are matched with guitar sounds in the background sounding very special during the braked parts. Astonishing pattern of how these guys are able to raise the bar of quality and modernity in the years 2011/2012, seriously! It's not fortuitous the guys have had Djay Brawner shooting a video for this track (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9cwRQp3THM).
Similar observations can be made as for "Caustic", a modern track where long and hard chiselling work was performed during the song's refinement and mixing. There isn't a real refrain here, still the track drags you to the center of the listening position in order to overthrow you with the heaviness of the sounds used.
"As We Drift" is another piece in which an initial fade-in was chosen, on the trail of Deftones and even Jane's Addiction, even tho the voice is very different; there's also room for poetic and delicate moments reminding of the latest King's X, notwithstanding keeping a marked level of personality before the Emo conclusion with multiple vocal layers.
Corrosive and mesmerizing, "When the Slide Is Broken" talks about a meeting in the beyond, the other side. The vocals are rabid and sometimes moribund, thus making the track conspicuously mundane on some occasions, and surreal on others.
"Let Them Bleed" has the tough task of closing the record with dignity and without leaving unsatisfactory feelings; mission accomplished, and yet it does even more: rapid and frantic, interrupted by a few mid-tempos dumbfounding and striking at the same time, the song sees the intervention of tribal beats and guitar experimentalism; when the climax arrives, the adrenaline bursts and a mind-boner's assured. I just can't imagine the chaos caused live at this point before the Emo break, placed with the intent of breaking the intensity of the powerful distortions and the bludgeoning drumwork at the end. Top-notch stuff, that's for sure!
Fans of Every Time I Die, Refused, Deftones and Far, don't be shy and approach these newcomers relying on an important past at their shoulders. After many years trying to get big and accepting the compromises of the infamous pay-to-play habit or worse sounds and lights in comparison with the headliners, they could have sat and enjoyed some rest thanks to the success obtained with their main origin outfits at last. On the contrary, they've decided, or maybe felt the unextinguishable need for more music to be created and they worked hard to compose and record their ideas. The result is that by playing this disk you can feel this is not a group of songs assembled with the goal of selling records nice & easy. You can feel the magic spark that only real artists possess.
Therefore "Hail The Sycophants" is an evil, solid and satisfying “late in the year” release that has definitely made my overall list of “Top Albums” for 2011.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - JANUARY 20TH, 2012