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The Color Morale, a five-piece post-hardcore band from Rockford, Illinois, is set to release their fifth studio album on August nineteenth. Overall, Desolate Divine is the truest representation of the talent and versatility The Color Morale possesses. Compared to their earlier works, this is on an entirely different level. The most noticeable difference is the vocal change. Garret Rapp usually melts faces with his raw, guttural uncleans, but they seemed to stray away from that with this release. Adopting a more alternative-rock sound with mainly clean vocals, each track flowed perfectly to the next and was incredibly melodic – which isn’t a term typically used to describe TCM.
Desolate Divine kicks off with ‘Lonesome Soul.’ It’s intro is an energetic mix of muted drumming and ambient guitar. Rapp chimes in with a catchy chorus paired with some emotional uncleans. Though the entire song is deeply reflective, as their lyrics always are, the chorus is most prominent: ‘This is the end of what we used to know, I’m breathing just fine but am I alive. I’m living safe as a lonesome soul, but I’m dying to feel so much less alone. I’m reaching out but I’m feeling nothing.’ Being familiar with some of Rapp’s background, the connection felt through the chorus was magnetic and honest.
‘Walls’ is the third track; it’s one of the heavier tracks and could be considered a climactic point on the album. ‘I’m safer to stay in the hell of my own mind – it’s safer on the inside.’ It offers a dynamic alternation between clean and unclean vocals, singing/screaming ‘…It’s safer on the inside.’
‘Trail of Blood’ will arguably be one of the favorites, lyrically and instrumentally, for sure. Taking off in a haze of chaotic instrumentals – it progresses into more catchy, radio-rock style chorus and verses, with seemingly never-ending musical peaks and valleys. While many will criticize the vocal change, The Color Morale continues to impress. Rapp’s harmonious vocals reach above and beyond previous levels of fan-connection. While there’s so much raw emotion conveyed through his uncleans, the melodies bring about an air of reconciliation and peace – which is detrimental for a group with such a positive message. It seems that the cycle has finally come full-circle.
‘Feauxtographic Memory’ is another track hinged on balance – vocally, lyrically, and instrumentally. Occasionally the lyrics feel a bit juvenile with cliché phrases like, ‘Feauxtographic memory, mine is still developing…turn my back and everything feels make believe…’
Although the lyrical content of this album seems a bit shallow in comparison to it’s predecessors, it’s more fluid in pattern. It seems a lot of times that when writing, the emotion and importance of the words outweighed the value of the song’s overall flow. Desolate Divine seems to find the balance, with less wordy, less sporadic lyrics.
In conclusion, Desolate Divine is not what you expect in a TCM album – it’s considerably less aggressive and on the lighter side of rock, but explores a completely different realm of their craft. PopD gives this album 5 out of 5 stars.