At All Cost
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Nov. 25, 2005
At All Cost
It's Time to Decide (Koch)
Indeed, It's Time for this Austin quintet to Decide what genre they're most adept at: emo, punk, nü metal. They splatter all three convincingly on their major-label debut, and far be it from any band anywhere to conform to musical categorization, but the collision of styles and sounds here is fatal. Opener "Death to Distraction" describes the group's vocal aspirations succinctly, until saccharine, electro-processed nü punk harmonies wallpaper the blood bath. The good news is the track's only 2:39. Follow-up "The Formula" chases and chugs Draino before the Yes vocals return. Even on mostly straight-ahead aggro tracks like "Right Now," where the wrenching screams meet the anvil guitars, sooner or later, emo's sickly sweet underside puts in an appearance, front and center for "Fabricated." The irony is that "The Irony" plays it straight, and it may be the best track on It's Time to Decide. The ladies of its two back-ups, "This Pen" and "The Hook," also sound woefully out of place. Instrumental ballad "It Burns Black" soothes the savage beasts with minimal obfuscations. "What Is Left to Inspire?" asks At All Cost on the caustic closer. Try sound decisions.