Confessions of a Traitor bring emotion and authenticity to their first release on Facedown Records, delivering a punishing metalcore album that works in so many ways.
Confessions of a Traitor are one of the most recent signings to Facedown Records and definitely fit the the sound of what many of have come to expect from Facedown since the early 2000s, namely metalcore with faith-influenced lyrics. C.O.A.T are London based and have released two eps, Seasons in 2014, and Illuminate in 2016 and a full length titled Guided in October 2019. The band describes their sound as a “blend of melodic elements with crushing grooves” that “evoke emotion and energy.” The band strives to create an atmosphere that gives hope and provides “an escape for people, even if just for a moment.”
“Aggressive music for positive people” features prominently in the C.O.A.T. bio and the album certainly fits that description. Right from the opening track there is no question this is a metalcore album in the Facedown Records tradition. “Punishing Myself Before God Does” has good pounding drums, heavy down-tuned guitars, and some great vocals both in the shouted verses and in the clean almost soaring chorus/group parts. Overall the track has a bit of a catchy groove feel to it and nevertheless is heavy. Taking a higher level view, there is a bit of familiarity to the track and many on the album as they employ many of the expected sonic elements found in metalcore songs.
There are a couple aspects to the album that are undeniable; one is the passion and emotion in which the songs and especially vocals are delivered. “Hearts of Stone” makes use of multiple vocal elements within the track all of which delivered with conviction that really makes the song work. The other is the relative absence of many production/studio elements often found in metalcore albums. This one is basically a straightforward performance. While the song “Lovecraft” does have a quieter ambient section that eventually reverts back to the heaviness, the ending of the song with some acapella shouted group vocals works really well as do the guest vocals from Brian Wille (Currents).
The next track “Forever Hollow” for some reason reminds me a good bit of “Hollow Again” by Project 86 even if sonically they are very distinct. The song starts out rather quietly with some keyboards and muted shouted vocals and keeps the keyboards prominent in the mix for longer than one would expect. The opening part of the verse sections is mostly bass and drums and the relative absence of sound really adds to the impact of the song. The later sections with the driving, pounding riffs delivered with the vocals works really well and the song literally bleeds with emotion, punctuated by the clean vocals.
“Peacekeeper” takes a completely different approach and hits fast and heavy from the outset with some great near droning guitar and pounding drums in some sections as well as riff-driven sections and the use of silence later in the track. Throughout the album the clean vocals and group vocal work really well and stay toward the heavier side of the sound, reminding me a bit of Darkness Divided in that respect.
The opening of “The New Holland Haunting” with its electronic elements is one of the more adventurous tracks on the album but while those elements do remain somewhat throughout the song, the heavy guitar-driven groove in the song really works well in the overall arrangement and keeps it from being something unique only for the sake of being different.
From what I hear on the album, Confessions of a Traitor have fully embraced their metalcore sound and are unapologetic about it, making music that means something to them. While not knowing the band well at all, the approach on this album reminds me of how bands like AC/DC, Hatebreed, and Sick of it All approach their albums in that everyone knows what the sound will be, but it’s done so well and authentically, that it works and there is no need to be inventive. On Punishing Myself Before God Does, performances are strong and filled with emotion and every element has a purpose. This is a very businessman-like, no-frills metalcore album which in its simplicity is refreshing to hear.
Written by John Jackson
- Punishing Myself Before God Does
- Hearts of Stone
- Forever Hollow (feat. Brian Willie of Currents)
- To Care for Those Who Cared for Us
- The New Holland Haunting
- A Place Where Your Hope Dies
- Death’s Door
Stephen MacConville – Vocals
Jack Darnell – Guitar
Jacob Brand – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Tony Nagle/Backing Vocals – Bass
Sebastian Olrog – Drums
Release Date: September 16th. 2022
Record Label: Facedown Records
Social Media: Facebook / Instagram
Video for ‘Peacekeeper’
Video for ‘Forever Hollow’ (feat. Brian Willie of Currents)
Video for ‘Lovecraft’
Video for ‘A Place Where Your Hope Dies’