Learning that ex-Haste The Day frontman Jimmy Ryan is fronting a sludgy experimental band was at first bewildering. I mean, Ryan was a good frontman, but his shrieking at the forefront of Haste The Day’s metalcore was always a small-dose indulgence for me – a few fast-paced songs here and there for a kick of adrenaline. How those vocals would fit amongst musical landscapes that evidently sound borrowed from Isis or Neurosis albums would be the ultimate question.

Overall, the sludgy-but-shimmering interplay found throughout the better part of The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole is quite well done. What’s surprising is that Ryan’s vocals, for the most part, work out quite well alongside the progressive sludge underneath. I’ll be frank and say I was turned off to hear Ryan’s trademark screaming over the thick, slow riffage in opener “Calling”; however, the following track got it right by bringing the instrumentals to the forefront and sinking the vocals deeper into the mix for a more balanced sound.

The record sits best with me when the instrumentals are able to develop on their own and really open up with some gentle singing rather than Ryan’s piercing usual shrieks; however, some of the albums heavier moments work well with that vocal style. The intro to “Trip The Landmine” is tasty in an explosive melodic hardcore kind of way, and the vocals throughout the second half of “Bittersweet” intertwine well with the ambient instrumentation.

Still, clocking in at just under an hour, the songwriting here isn’t consistently good enough to maintain an unbroken sense of interest. The album shines here and there, and is surprisingly palatable throughout despite Jimmy’s monotonous history in Haste The Day, so I’ll look forward to hearing what comes down the road from Trenches. For now, though,The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole will recall more of a pleasant surprise than a record worth revisiting for extended listens.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. Calling
02. Eyes Open
03. Sacrament
04. Trip The Landmine
05. Pathways
06. Bittersweet
07. Call It Correct
08. End
09. Ocean Currents
10. Cornered

Run Time: 54:57