The Pitch: A post-hardcore concept album that serves as an open letter to the singer's mother who died of cancer last year.
What I Like: There are a lot of things I love about this record, but if I could only pick one it is simply how personal it is. Hollow Bones already pulled at my heartstrings when the vocalist wrote about his deceased brother, but Stage Four takes the grieving process to another level. I think this is as close to being inside the songwriter's heart and brain as I have ever been, and it is not only deepy sad, but even uncomfortably so at times. Despite proclaiming my current favorite genre to be black metal, I just want to give Jeremy Bolm a hug.
What I Don't Like: I'm not always a fan of the clean singing. I think it is a good tool at times to convey a certain tone and further personalize a passage, but particulalry "Water Damage" and "Skyscraper" don't work as well for me.
The Verdict: Though it may not musically be as anthemic or consistent as Is Survived By..., Stage Four is something more mature. The indie elements, little imperfections, and even listener discomfort make it feel like a more honest album and one that truly breaks my heart. My condolences, and thank you for sharing your mother with us.
Flight's Fav's: New Halloween, Benediction, Palm Dreams
For a more in-depth look at this album, Anthony Fantano did an excellent job in his own video review.