Along The Shadow
20th May 2016 – Epitaph Records
01. The Silver String
02. Ideology Is Theft
03. Racing Toward A Red Light
04. Second Guesses
05. Count Back From TEN
06. The Stutter Says A Lot
07. Sore Distress
08. The Secret Meaning of Freedom
09. Old Friends
10. Illusion & Control
11. Control and The Urge to Pray
Thirteen years after the iconic Translating The Name blew everyone away with expertly performed, passionate post-hardcore, Saosin have finally given us a full-length album with original vocalist Anthony Green. In the years between of course, Anthony has given us five stupendous albums in a row with the brilliant Circa Survive, several pleasant solo albums, and a few experimental releases with bands like The Sound of Animals Fighting on top of countless guest spots.
Saosin, on the other hand, have largely floundered and failed to live up to the potential that once seemed destined to deliver us legendary albums. Multiple lineup changes and a lengthy hiatus followed their middling sophomore album In Search of Solid Ground, which was a fitting name for a band that was evidently struggling to find their footing.
While it was thrilling to see that we would finally get a third album from the band with Anthony Green back on vocals, what we are left with is an insipid, uninspiring effort that is almost entirely disappointing.
Beginning with what actually works on Along The Shadow, Anthony Green’s voice is as potent and unique as ever. There may have been a proliferation of imitators in his wake, but truly no one can do Anthony Green like Anthony Green does. Everything on display is competent and there is nothing that can fairly be referred to as poor or bad. Frankly, there are a handful of really decent tunes here starting with solid opener “The Silver String” and onto the following songs “Ideology Is Theft” and “Racing Toward A Red Light.” None of these songs are great by any stretch of the imagination, but they have a solid amount of energy and are generally well-written if lacking in novelty and complexity.
If you happen to be operating heavy machinery when “Second Guesses” comes on though please cease operations immediately and make sure to sit or lay down in a safe place. It completely sucks all the life out of Along The Shadow and the middle portion of the album is loaded back to back with mid-tempo tracks that are utterly devoid of musical or vocal hooks. It is aggressively boring, and it’s difficult to think of an album in recent memory that sags as heavily as Along The Shadow does. The album never recovers from its lethargic middle and – aside from the energetic blast “The Secret Meaning of Freedom” – this collection of songs could serve as a substitute for Jeff Bridge’s Sleeping Tapes.
Saosin’s Along The Shadow is not even close to being as memorable or dynamic as anything Circa Survive have released and it’s not even up to the quality of their albums with Cove Reber. Perhaps folks who love literally anything that Anthony Green sings over will find something to love here as well, but for nearly anyone who has been waiting over a decade to hear what we would get out of Saosin with Anthony back on the mic will be sorely disappointed. This is as tepid and lifeless as anything that has come out in 2016.