Rise To Remain – City Of Vultures (2011)

Posted: September 9, 2011 in Music

There hasn’t been a whole hell of a lot of ‘new’ modern metalcore bands to crack the surface over the last couple of years. Most rookie efforts these days are either the same ol’, same ol’ we’ve been listening to for years, or else they call themselves ‘metalcore’, then go off and play something entirely different in order to stand out from the crowd.

That’s not to say all new metalcore bands suck – there have been a handful of premieres this year that have served notice that the scene is far from dead. The latest entry into that mix is England’s Rise To Remain, who – after a hugely successful EP release last year – have just released their first full-length City of Vultures on EMI Records.

They have ben cutting their teeth playing some pretty big gigs as well. Having already participated in notable festivals such as as Sonisphere, Soundwave and Download, Rise To Remain have also shared the stage with formidable acts like Shadows Fall, Five Finger Death Punch, The Haunted, Trivium and Iron Maiden – all while not even having a complete CD released.

Most recently, the band was voted “Best New Band” at the Metal Hammer “Golden God Awards”, again, based solely on their EPs. The hype behind these guys is unheard of by modern standards, and they are poised to be one of the most ‘talked about’ bands well into next year – but how? And why? After all, most headbangers haven’t even heard of these guys yet…

Connections, connections, connections.

In what appears to be both a blessing and a curse, frontman Austin Dickinson comes from a pretty decent pedigree. His father is – you guessed it – the legendary frontman of the aforementioned Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson. While having someone so entirely ‘in-the-know’ can do nothing but help an up-and-coming band, the group has also been unfairly compared to daddy’s band along the way. Truth is, while the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, any musical connection to Maiden is as unfounded as it is preposterous.

Rise To Remain definitely have their own sound (or, more honestly, a little bit of a LOT of other band’s sounds) that stands far away from the epic sounds of 80s metal. In fact, the new album has a great freshness and sincerity to it that peaked my interest immediately – regardless of any lineage.

The energy, talent and conviction can’t be questioned – but what I discovered through this listen was that, musicianship aside, much of this album isn’t all that ‘original.’

You can’t blame a band – in an attempt to stay true to the scene – for ‘borrowing’ an element or two from other groups along the way. After all, anything done well once warrants repeating. That said, the effort is definitely put forward here to mix these ‘riffs-on-loan’ up enough to form interesting new compositions along the way. They are by no means close to a ‘copycat band’ (*cough – Black Veil Brides – cough*), and there is enough original material here to keep the listener on the hook through the entire album.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t disclose the fact that you will recognize many of these ‘borrowed’ elements almost instantly. The opening sequence of the “The Serpent” is eerily similar both musically and vocally to Lamb of God, but quickly shifts in to an All That Remains styled chorus.

Other tracks will remind you from everyone from Pantera to Bullet For My Valentine, but in small doses. In fact, just when you think you are listening to a Trivium guitar solo, you get pulled away into something different, maybe an In Flames singalong or a frenetic Unearth drum fill – and that diversity is what makes this album enjoyable.

In fact, it’s more than enjoyable. It is performed well, mixed well, balanced well, and produced perfectly. While I think the band is still in search of their own signature style (which they will inevitable corner soon enough), the variation presented here had a nice ring to it. It tumbles around between thrash metal, groove metal, melodic metal and even a fair amount of emocore, but you’re so caught up in being thrown back and forth that you really don’t have time to figure out what square you actually landed on between rolls of the dice. And that’s not a bad thing.

I can’t honestly say I disliked a single track here. While there was an occasional chorus or interlude that threw me off, I was just as quickly right back in to ‘digging’ the track with a shredding solo or beefy breakdown. I’m not going to use the term ‘progressive’ here, but the composition of these songs wasn’t too far away, structure-wise.

Standout tracks include “The Serpent,” “God Can Bleed,” “Power Through Fear,” and “Bridges Will Burn” – but I think I liked them best due to the ‘heaviness’ factor. In all actuality, there is something for everyone here – from track to track, and sometimes within each track. Softer, more melodic parts infest “Talking In Whispers” and “Nothing Left,” and “Roads” is as warm and cuddly as a baby’s blanket.

In conclusion, there’s enough here to legitimately raise the horns, yet plenty to keep your girlfriend from changing the CD on you halfway to the mall. These guys can definitely write and play metal with the best of them. The accessible combination of styles – as rare as it is – makes this worthy of the attention this band has received, even if it was all a little premature.


01 – Intro
02 – The Serpent
03 – This Day Is Mine
04 – City Of Vultures
05 – Talking In Whispers
06 – God Can Bleed
07 – Power Through Fear
08 – Nothing Left
09 – We Will Last Forever
10 – Illusions
11 – Roads
12 – Bridges Will Burn

Buy at Amazon

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