ALBUM REVIEW: Palisades – Erase The Pain

New Jersey quintet Palisades have released their new album Erase The Pain via Rise Records. Produced by Howard Benson, known for his work with My Chemical Romance, Of Mice & Men and In Flames, fans were anticipating big things. Releasing right at the end of 2018 – a time when people can overlook new releases – could be tricky territory, so this needed to be something special to capture the attention of music lovers.

Throwing the release into action is Vendetta with a fiery, chaotic guitar-led introduction from Xavier Adams and Matt Marshall, topped off with Aaron Rosa’s rousing drum lines. The vocal strength highlighted by Lou Miceli perfectly matches the musical backing, fluttering from soft and sultry to aggressive, pain-stricken and powerful during the chorus. Singing of the pain of being held back, feeling like a prisoner either mentally or emotionally and standing up against this to escape; “I’m not your prisoner,” regaining control and ending up on top.  

Title-tracks always have pressure on their shoulders, and from the mismatched introduction Erase The Pain flaunts heavy Bring Me The Horizon influences. This softer sound allows the guitars to gain prominence in the busy track. The use of synths make this a musically challenging and impressive number, and putting together a variety of elements results in a catchy track, which we actually find ourselves singing along to.

With a name like Fade we’re anticipating a slower tempo, more lyrical focus and a step away from the sound we’ve heard. This is exactly what we get as Miceli’s vocals are emotive, passion-filled and sing of the struggles of wondering “how do I make myself heal if I can’t let myself in?” – fighting a battle with yourself whilst trying to better yourself. We have visions of a live crowd giving every last bit of their energy during the chorus, and whilst maintaining heavy guitar lines it’s a solid attempt at a ballad with a twist.

War opens up with a bloodcurdlingly raw scream before gritty, rowdy drum lines come into play, opening up the pit within your head. The first single from the release, War sees pop-edged hooks merged with driving drum lines and big, bold breakdowns around each and every corner. The name is appropriate as it could very easily soundtrack a war within the crowd at a show, as each fan gives every bit of their energy for the three-minute song. Being torn in many directions, struggling to wrap your head around one aspect of the track, it’s messy but the good kind of messy.

Palisades seems to have mastered matching the vibes of tracks to their name, as Ways To Disappear is a thought-provoking title and a mysteriously intimate track. The slowest we’ve experienced on the release so far it makes us feel as if we aren’t actually there, and we can relate as the track sings “I am a ghost”. Lyrically it sings of the struggles of being unhappy, struggling but wanting to speak out to those close to you when you just want to rejoin the rest of the world. As the chorus comes around the tempo increases, it hits its peak without being overpowering and it works incredibly well. Swirling guitar lines make this an emotionally powerful track, flaunting the best abilities of the quartet.

Ghost is stripped back and slowed down as Miceli’s vocals soar, reaching sky high limits. The track’s chorus is without a doubt one of the strongest on the release, providing the perfect combination of singalong and a thrashing breakdown straight after. Lyrically these tracks are incredibly strong, albeit a bit repetitive at times, singing about being forgotten and struggling to come to terms with it. The underlying “hey, hey” chant is the perfect addition to make this a special live set moment.

It becomes apparent that we’ve headed towards the slower section of the release as second single Fragile Bones maintains a relaxed yet haunting atmosphere. This doesn’t last long, however, as they soon throw themselves head first into the heavy territory they’ve become known to reside in. The rough, anger-filled vocals sing “you’re making me hate me,” as if somebody is trying to mould you into what they want in order to get their approval. The track focuses on being proud of who you are, not listening to those who put you down and reduce your self-worth.

As we head towards the end of the release it’s getting hard for Palisades to keep hold of our attention. We just want something different at this point but Push is hard to distinguish from many of the previous tracks on the record. However, there’s a bit of a synthy twinge making its way through the heavy track in a futile attempt to turn the release around. Across the album there’s a sense of regret, anger towards yourself and those who have caused you negative impact and being pushed to your limits. Palisades might not be breaking new ground, but we feel that it is lyrically where they shine.

Penultimate track Patient is another simplistic track, but once again the band play to their lyrical strengths. There are some interesting lines to get your head around, including “you’re getting high off of playing God, either stop my heart or replace it,” which is a clever way to describe something that happens a lot in everyday life and many situations; yet we want something more. Musically it’s just not exciting, but fortunately the lyrics save it.

Closing track Shed My Skin has the important job of leaving a lasting impression. The focus is on Miceli’s vocal ability, taking us back to the deep and meaningful track styling, slow and sincere, explaining it’s not the end it’s just a new beginning – “death to me, reborn today.” With a simplistic guitar backing the pounding drum lines carry the track, but we find it gives us false hope as we expect something right around the corner which unfortunately never comes.

Palisades may have taken a risk releasing their album so late in the year, but we hope that they get the attention they deserve. Lyrically they possess an incredibly special strength, but we find ourselves wanting something more as our attention drifted mid-release. If you overlooked Erase The Pain over the busy New Year period, you can stream it HERE.


Standout Tracks: Fade, Ways To Disappear, Fragile Bones

For Fans Of: Memphis May Fire, Underoath, Asking Alexandria

Written by: Nicola Craig

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar