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Turning Virtue – A Temporary Human Experience – Album Review

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With heavy pop-rock, the line between catchy and a feeling of authenticity is often a narrow one to navigate. On Turning Virtue‘s latest release A Temporary Human Experience they swerve along this line as they hone their craft and by the end find themselves broaching the level of finesse as contemporaries like Muse and My Chemical Romance.

The album opens on the hypnotic rhythms of “Transcend,” which blends an exotic tone with absolutely addictive choruses, especially with the vocal hook of “Anywhere is somewhere.” If you can handle the cheese the closing chorus is satisfying. There’s more soft-rock on “These Things” with contrastingly rock-esque vocals on the choruses. Although there’s a lot of heavier rock elements in the song, it feels lost without the attitude and energy that makes these elements work.

Box Of Disappointment” avoids falling victim to its title with some very interesting writing, and a goosebump-inducing breathing drop. Moving from ambient guitar, to heavy rock, to a Muse meets My Chemical Romance-style chorus the track has a little bit of everything, while losing some cohesion in the process. Things get very slow on “Random” where the band plays with sounds to great effect, on a track that might grow repetitive without them.

The hard-rock chug kicks up on “Fall In Love With The World” and despite a somewhat generic verse the pop sensibility of the chorus gives it a second-wind. Despite this wind and some great technique though the tone feels more like an aesthetic than true grit. “Dreamin’” switches back to a lighter sound, with beautiful guitars and floating vocal melodies. The track’s heavy riff breaks bring it closer to the rest of the album, but also points to the inconsistent sound that makes the album feel somewhat disjointed.

While very heavy-handed with its religious allusions, “Theody” is definitely the heaviest rocker on the track with dabs of death-metal in some of the background vocals, while very derivative, it will scratch the metal itch well. The other side of the coin is “What’s True” which uses pop frameworks and puts metal tones on top of them, resulting in catchy heavy music that really only lacks a bit of edge in the end.

Despite some truly great moments and an epic effort the sheer length of the 12 minute “Salty Tears” is simply too much, even veteran peers like Muse have come across too indulgent on similar efforts in recent years.

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