2 January 2019
Palisades - Erase the Pain
Palisades are a Post Hardcore/Electronicore five-piece, hailing from Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Formed in 2011, Erase the Pain is their fourth album, following up from the 2017 self-titled studio record. Over the years, they've toured with the likes of Capture the Crown, Famous Last Words, Of Mice & Men and many more. In recent months, they've been coming to my attention via radio promos I've been sent, so I've been interested in this release. Now, let's be honest here; apart from owning a copy of their last album, my knowledge of everything about Palisades has been harvested from Wikipedia. However, that doesn't mean I've not been curious about Palisades and Erase the Pain. The mash-up of Post Hardcore with Electronica sounds is an interesting prospect, so the only way to find out what you think is to listen to it. So, here are my thoughts on Erase the Pain.
01 - Vendetta
After a short Electronic introduction, "Vendetta" is a song about self-doubt and revenge. With themes that are familiar in all genres of Metal, you sort of get a feeling for Palisades from the beginning of Erase the Pain. As introduction tracks, "Vendetta" is a loud and punchy affair. Palisades grab your attention straight away, with a song that feels familiar and new at the same time.
02 - Erase the Pain
The title track of Erase the Pain is another song about wishing to be forgotten, trying to remember what it's like to not be numb and wanting some emotional baggage to fuck off. The tempo drops a little with the start of the song, but it soon picks up with the chorus. Energy-wise though, having this track as the second song on the album is not the best idea. It takes something away from the album, diluting the fluidity too early. However, "Erase the Pain" is a decent song, but I would have saved it for later on if I was in charge of the track sequence.
03 - Fade
"Fade" follows "Erase the Pain" and you feel a sense of déjà vu. Once again, we have a song about trying to figure out a way forward, about trying to move on. The narrative of looking at yourself, assessing what has happened, whilst wondering how to move on from a state of emotional shock. "Fade" is one of many slow numbers on Erase the Pain, one that hits all the Pop/Hardcore moment that have been the hallmarks of mainstream Metal channels over the last few years. But whilst saying that, I'm aware that some people will have their mind made up about "Fade" and Palisades as well. However, I would recommend giving "Fade" a chance, as Palisades have created an interesting song here, one that is infectious and beautiful.
04 - War
"War" is quite easily the standout track of Erase the Pain, with a massive riff throughout the song, strong lyrics and so many hooks that you could use it to go fishing. This was the first track to be released from this album, and you can see why. "War" left the biggest impression on me once the album had finished, you can feel the passion behind the band, this is them at their best and it shows.
05 - Run Away
"Run Away" returns to the idea of trying to deal with one's issues, to face them head on, but not having the courage to do it alone. With the level of self-doubt shown on "Run Away", you get the feeling that the damage inflicted in this relationship was substantial. Musically, "Run Away" feels as if it's been done before, done better and a little bit of a letdown. After "War", they probably wanted to chill down the album, but I think they've done too good a job if that was their aim.
06 - Ghost
Now "Ghost" has a very interesting opening, a larger than life Metal riff that wouldn't be out of place on a Papa Roach album. Then it gives way to a rather average little number sadly. "Ghost" is a track which feels that the studio is not its natural environment. You get the idea that it could be a definite crowd pleaser, but the drop from the opening into the first verse is too steep. It saps that small build up too much for my tastes. I'm not saying that "Ghost" is a bad track per se, I've certainly heard a load worse. But I've also heard a hell of a lot too.
07 - Fragile Bones
"Fragile Bones" returns to some familiar traits for Erase the Pain, with a tale of self-doubt, blame and added accusations of blame. Musically, "Fragile Bones" is one of the strongest songs on Erase the Pain, as the band on full attack mode. Lyrically though, I feel that Palisades have written stronger songs than this. I understand there is a lot self-loathing on this album, but blaming others for issues in your own head has never been something that just doesn't sit well with me, so this is a track I would skip in the future.
08 - Push
"Push" follows that familiar pattern of Erase the Pain; self-doubt, asking for help, feeling stuck in a hole and craving escape. Musically, Palisades sound very strong on "Push", with a great crunching sound to the guitars and massive drums. And whilst I realise how it can be important to an isolated person to have a band or song that they can identify at a time of crisis, I also wonder what is Palisades endgame here? Is there a way that they can point people in the right direction for help (and not in the form of medication)? Just a thought here people; anyway, "Push" sounds as if it would be a massive hit live, but I'm not digging the lyrical content once again.
09 - Patient
Ah, we've reached the penultimate track with "Patient", which seems to be slightly different to 90% of Erase the Pain. You have the usual self-loathing, but this time they are questioning the cause of their pain, asking the person behind the pain why they're causing so much pain in their life. They are wanting to show them the pain that is being caused, trying to get them to stop and spare them any further pain. By doing this, "Patient" stands out with "War" as one of the better tracks on Erase the Pain. It's another song I would like to see played live, as it has a great progression throughout.
10 - Shed My Skin
"Shed My Skin" does something I was not expecting for this album, it ends Erase the Pain with a bang. I was expecting a piano drive song the way the album, what I found was a song about trying to escape oneself. "Shed My Skin" is another heavy number and it keeps the listener engaged. The more I hear it, the more I want to press repeat. If it was not for "War", "Shedding My Skin" would have been the top track on Erase the Pain. I was pleasantly surprised here, I doth my cap to Palisades for this song, which brings the curtain down on Erase the Pain with a bang.
Overall, Erase the Pain is a good, solid fourth release from Palisades, who reminds me a lot of a few bands. I'm hearing American Head Charge, I'm hearing Kill Hannah, there is a bit of Deftones, some Incubus, a little bit of Bloodsimple, as well as early Linkin Park and Papa Roach in their sound. The Linkin Park comparison is the easiest to make with Palisades, but they have a lot more about them (no disrespect to LP there). I would place their sound at the poppier end of Hardcore, or it might be the best representation of their chosen genre. Erase the Pain doesn't outstay its welcome and Palisades can be proud of it. However, I think it's fair to say that this mightn't be a record I reach for again. Not because it's a poor record though, I would never accuse Erase the Pain of being a dud. I just can't say that it's the most original record I ever heard, or that it would have made my end of year list for 2018. But equally, I can say that I found myself bored or disengaged by their sound either. For me, Erase the Pain is a record that ended up not being my type of thing, this is how it turns out sometime. However, I've got a feeling that some of these songs will thrive in the live arena. So, if Palisades ever come my way, I'd definitely go and see their show. As for Erase the Pain, file under not quite my thing, but well played none the less.
6.5 out of ten - Now, I see where you were going, but it's not quite there
Top track - War
You can purchase Erase the Pain on Amazon here.
You can visit the Palisades website here.
You can follow the activities of Palisades on Facebook here.
You can stream Erase the Pain on Spotify here.
You can stream Erase the Pain on Deezer here.
You can stream Erase the Pain on Tidal here.
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