Palisades – ‘Erase The Pain’

By Gem Rogers

The end of December is a bit of an odd time to release an album. Too late to make anyone’s album of the year list and too early for anyone to start caring about 2019, it’s that weird fuzzy period where nobody can remember the last time they ate a vegetable that wasn’t roasted, and days of the week have become nothing more than myth.

It is, however, the perfect time to release something under the radar. Perhaps indicating a slight lack of confidence, the question is whether the fourth full length effort from US five piece Palisades deserves such treatment. Heavy on the electronic sounds on their earlier releases, second album ‘Mind Games’ crossed the line into obnoxious (and occasionally face twitchingly cringe-inducing) before the band dialled back down to a more generic, pop-influenced post-hardcore sound for 2017’s self-titled.

‘Erase The Pain’ crashes in with threatening, distorted guitars on ‘Vendetta’; there’s no doubt Palisades are picking up where their third album left off, bringing heavy riffs alongside mellow verses and screamed choruses. They haven’t yet forgotten or abandoned their earlier electronic and dubstep influences, though, as title track ‘Erase The Pain’ brings a solid beat and a thoroughly early 2000s feel – there’s some real early Linkin Park vibes.

The hard hitting ‘War’ is a highlight of the album, with rolling drums and aggressive, heavy riffs, and though at times Lou Miceli’s vocals are a little overwhelmed, when the screams are let loose they also feel like some of the most raw and authentic on the album – it’s a fast paced and explosive track perfect for a no-holds-barred headbanging session. The anthemic chants of ‘Ghost’ are another high point and evidence of just how appealing Palisades can be, with a memorable, poppy melody backed firmly by insistent, pounding drum beats and some seriously chunky guitars.

‘Shed My Skin’ aims to end the album on a high with a punchy intro – there’s no space for ballads in this finale, and rightly so. Palisades are at their best with grinding, groove-laden tracks like this as Miceli roars desperately through the chorus – lyrically, there’s not really anything groundbreaking to be found on this record and there are occasional lapses into cliché on tracks like the stadium rock-esque ‘Fade’, but they feel heartfelt and relatable throughout. The emotive chorus of ‘Fragile Bones’ – “you think you’re curing a disease / you got the answers, the vaccines / you’re making me hate me” – is especially powerful, an attack on those who seek to turn you into someone you’re not and the impacts on feelings of self-worth.

Undoubtedly the strongest Palisades album to date, ‘Erase The Pain’ is draped in melody and passion with a darker edge, and contains some of their most memorable tracks to date. The only real difficulty is that, although there are some real standout tracks, the album lacks the ability to grasp attention from start to finish and gradually merges into one long mass of big choruses and riffs. Not necessarily a bad thing, if that’s what you’re after, but in a year of outstanding albums it’s difficult for Palisades to stand out from the crowd. The best parts of this album are well worth the listen, though – this is one to add to shuffle playlists and allow to grow on you over time.

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