Unless it’s a genuinely huge surprise release (and even then the conditions are only marginally more lax), there’s no reason to release your album in late December, especially after Christmas when no one actually wants anything new until the new year. Thus, it speaks some blaring volumes about where Palisades’ Erase The Pain falls on the spectrum of confidence; either this is the band with the balls to believe they can singlehandedly brush away the late-December stupor, or Rise have so little faith in this doing anything of merit that they didn’t even want to hold it off until January. And given Palisades’ history as a band and their transition from blaringly obnoxious party boys to significantly better but still C-tier-at-best melodic metalcore merchants, odds are it’s likely to be the latter. It’s not as if Palisades are that much of a driving force behind anything relevant anyway, and it’s very unlikely that one album is going to change that in any meaningful way.
And to some extent, it’s easy to feel sorry for them for that. After all, they’ve already got an uphill battle just to exist at a time when metalcore is favouring more organic fare, and with every possible odd stacked up against them, it’s not like Erase The Pain has any chance of scale the insurmountable heights in their wake. Thus, it’s tempting to at least try and be a bit charitable here; even with the low, low expectations that have already been set out for it, it’s not as if Palisades are going to be making their claim for something truly awful with this one, not this late in the game. Then again, if it was, there would at least be something to say about it because, as it stands, Erase The Pain is about as cut-and-dry as this brand of metalcore gets, seemingly ticking every single box to be the sort of album that could’ve picked up some traction about five years ago, but has absolutely no business being released now.
It’s not even as if it’s worth going into great detail either, both because any other mediocre-to-bad album like this has already taken up the vast majority of pertinent descriptions, and because it would just seem unfair to Palisades to kick them even more when they’re already down so low. It’s not like nothing can be said either though, and when it feels like Palisades aren’t even trying to do something new or even distinct to themselves, it just needs to be taken to task. And thus, the lack of any momentum or developed imagery in the lyrics is disappointingly bog-standard, while Lou Miceli may be one of the most faceless, personality-bereft frontmen currently in metalcore; at least when he was pitted against screeching club beats, there was some colour and character there. And really, it’s hardly worth even singling out individual songs in this case, because they almost all conform to same steely, colourless but supremely-polished formula that’s been endemic within the genre for years now. There’s at least a bit of nu-metal crunch on War and Push that’s welcome, but otherwise, these could easily be the blank templates of songs just waiting to be built on in any way possible.
And that’s basically it for Erase The Pain, an album that does so little and offers an equal amount back. No matter which way you spin it, there genuinely doesn’t seem to be an upside for this actually getting released – it’s not a good album for one, but more importantly for both Palisades and their label, it’s going to be lost in the shuffle when 2019 comes around, to the point where it barely seems worth releasing. Even just a few weeks later could’ve saved it somewhat, but it’d still be below average at best and offering nothing that metalcore as genre isn’t currently looking to distance itself from. At least it won’t be as ubiquitous as so many other bad metalcore albums in the past, but you can’t help but think that might’ve been a preemptive warning on the industry side regarding how this actually turns out.
For fans of: Memphis May Fire, The Amity Affliction, Asking Alexandria
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Erase The Pain’ by Palisades is released on 28th December on Rise Records.