The album begins with a reprise of sorts for the finale of the previous album, Depths II, by continuing the vision/experience that vocalist Garrett Russell describes in Depths II. Inherit the Earth and Inhabit the Wound are essentially all one song, split with both halves capping off the beginning and end of the album, and deal with the concept of the panopticon, dreamed up by the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham. It sets a somewhat mysterious, lonely tone and indicates to the listener that this album will undoubtedly tap into their emotions. It then flows into the second track, Psychescape, dealing with schizophrenia, which makes for a paranoid- and anxiety-driven atmosphere throughout. The appearance of Underoath vocalist Spencer Chamberlain adds a second voice to the mono(dia)logue, artistically describing how those who suffer from schizophrenia undoubtedly feel.
This trend of artistic descriptions of mental disorders, social issues, and theological/philosophical mysteries continues throughout the album. The buildup of the album continues in a similar feel, with a sort of anxious, dramatic aesthetic throughout the songs. This atmosphere starts to take a turn during Panic Room, a strongly-atmospheric and heavy-bearing song musically describing the horrors of PTSD, by taking upon the concept that, "To be pro-soldier is to be anti-war." After this wonderfully unusual song, the middle point of the album is expressed via palindrome in REDIVIDEЯ. If the rest of the album is art, this is a masterpiece. Represented by symmetry and two sides, cryptic lyrics, and a direct reference to "manic then depressive" followed by its symmetric counterpart, "depressive then manic", this song deals with the common disorder, bipolar disorder. The music matches the lyrics and is almost 100% symmetrical throughout.
REDIVIDEЯ is followed up by Nervosa, a song dealing with anorexia, and takes place from the perspective of someone fighting it. The song has a really unnerving aesthetic throughout, almost giving you the temporary feeling of dealing with anorexia yourself. It's an extremely powerful song and is made even moreso by the appearance of Norma Jean vocalist, Cory Brandan. This is followed by a small two-minute break of pure atmosphere, C'est Tout Pardonner, allowing the listener to relax before they're hit heavy once more by a frantic and righteously angry song, Orphan. The frantic/angry/slightly groovy aesthetic aids in conveying the message of the song, that there are extremists in every worldview, but we are all created in the image of God. They do this by telling a story of two brothers who were separated and raised in completely different worldviews: one was allegedly a Christian, the other a Muslim. Despite the world's sad stereotype that all Muslims are unchangeably violent, the Muslim brother was a former Jihadist who became a peaceful person while the Christian brother became violent and radical. The Christian brother was about to execute his Muslim brother, but then they both realized that they were brothers. It's a beautiful story about loving all in spite of different beliefs.
The two final songs on the album, First Father, and Inhabit the Wound round out this release flawlessly. First Father is a beautiful song that has a melancholy, possibly slightly bittersweet, atmosphere to it. Its music and lyrics portray grief and a journey to overcome it by searching for the love and comfort of God. The title of this review is directly drawn from an amazing line in the song, "'You pulled me through time', through the edgeless night. I learned to love as you learned to die." I can't honestly say much more than the fact that First Father is one of my absolute favorites on this album.
All of these concepts are summed up and linked by the concept of the Enneagram of Personality (the figure shown on the album art) and the color wheel ink blots shown in the album booklet. According to the album booklet, these ink blots are "designed to challenge intentions, stir the subconscious, and offend assumptions." To get the full effect of listening to this album, it's best to read the lyrics in the booklet as you listen to the songs and let their meaning sink in. The ink blots, enneagram, and lyrics really do work together so well that it's scary (in a good way). It helps the listener fully understand and appreciate what the band is trying to convey via their music and lyrics.
Now that I've talked about the lyrics and some of the conceptual stand-out points of the album, I'll talk a little about the musical improvements we hear on this album. On their debut EP, Come Wind, Come Weather, Garrett Russell's voice was shown to be a rather unique, punchy scream style which is explained by his idea that he wanted to write poetry, then shout it to music. When they released their first album, Russell's voice was different in sound, taking on a more classic hardcore scream sound. While this wasn't a bad thing per-se, I did feel like Come Wind, Come Weather's vocal work was exceptionally unique, surprising, and appropriate for the highly eloquent poetry that this band uses. In Everything Was Sound, we hear a return of the punchier, shouted scream style, but it has been refined by blending in the TNGS hardcore screams, as well as some false cord lows across the album giving more heaviness than the previous album, and it grants more of a diverse feel to the entire album.
Musically, I noticed that The Night God Slept wasn't an exceptionally heavy record, but that was because the atmosphere and overall feel of the music did all it needed to convey the message properly. On Everything Was Sound, all of the band amped up their performances, maintaining the sense of atmosphere that their previous album had while throwing in a heavier, more dramatic and grand-scale overall feel. They didn't stick to any one genre on this album, but instead spread across various metal genres. Songs like Dying In Circles, Understanding Love as Loss and First Father have elements of post-metal, songs like Psychescape feel very traditional in the vein of Lost in the Sound of Separation-era Underoath (partially aided by the fact that their vocalist did guest work on that song), Nervosa had some vocals that had a similar rhythm to some hip-hop or rap, Orphan had elements of thrash, and Inhabit the Wound had sludge influences.
To summarize this album into a single paragraph, I'd say that they outdid themselves in every single way. The Night God Slept was, is, and always will be one of my all-time favorite albums, but Everything Was Sound completely met and exceeded all of my expectations. Every single song has at least one memorable moment (usually quite a few), the lyrics are some of the most heavy-hearted and philosophical I've ever read, and the relation between the songs and the enneagram/inkblot concept helps to unite all of the album into a singular masterpiece of art. While I personally preferred the guest performances on The Night God Slept, the guest work on this album was used appropriately to coincide perfectly with the music's feel and lyrical message.
- Inherit the Earth
- Dying in Circles
- First Father
- Everything else, but those were my favorites
-- 99% (I wish there were more guest appearances like the previous album)