Album Review: "I Believe, Help My Unbelief" by Rival ChoirDate: February 14, 2016
Rival Choir may be a new name to a lot of people who are giving their new album I Believe, Help My Unbelief a listen, but they’ve been around for some time now. Most people would know them as Mouth of the South who have been around since 2007. The band released two albums and two EPs under that name but after numerous lineup and style changes they recently decided to re-brand and become Rival Choir.
Staying with Facedown Records, the band has released an album of straight up, no frills, in your face hardcore/metalcore that will definitely have people remembering their name. There is a very chaotic feel on numerous tracks especially in the vocals. The frenzied feel reminds me of Oh, Sleeper, Norma Jean, and Underoath at times. It makes sense that they have been put on touring bills with the first two of those bands. Definitely a good fit. Their lead single “Aftermath” is a perfect example of this sound.
The peaks and valleys throughout this album is something that I appreciate a lot. The band perfectly take moments to create a calm before the storm that then wreaks all havoc. The instrumentation is even atmospheric at times when they take it down a notch during these parts. Clean vocals are even used which nicely fit in the softer sections and uplifting choruses.
The lyrics on this release are very honest and will definitely be relateable to a lot of people who have questions that they’re looking for answers. On the song “Empty Words” vocalist Josiah Lyle screams, “This is the only way I know how to cope; just grit my teeth and bare it all. This is the only way I know how to feel, so I stay put to keep these stories real. I know there's been truth in the things I've sought.” These are not your cookie cutter generic lyrics being used by countless hardcore bands and it definitely sets them apart. I love how the album ends with split title tracks, the first being “I Believe,” followed by “Help My Unbelief.” It perfectly captures the message going on throughout the album.
For a band’s “debut” this is definitely a great release. The band is off to a great start under their new name and with the tours that they are on currently they’re bound to gain a lot of good exposure.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of the writer alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WSOU, Seton Hall University, nor any of its affiliates.