Today Is The Day – Sadness Will Prevail

First words: this is an intimidating release. With thirty tracks, a number that many grindcore bands will not reach on any given release, Sadness Will Prevail clocks in at 145 minutes. Today Is The Day became famous for playing a vicious variety of jagged metal-hardcore, most notable on seminal albums “Willpower”, “In The Eyes Of God”, and “Temple Of The Morning Star” (the latter frequently featuring in many musicians’ list of influences). However, frontman Steve Austin widely expands his musical vision on this release, by including various noise passages, acoustic insturmentals, piano scores, and found sound. While his ambition for this album is readily apparent, it does not always translate into a coherent experience, with the musical direction of the album frequently taking wild left turns. In addition, the quality work and filler material is thrown in rather haphazardly, as if the project exploded into it’s current form.

While it would be commendable if I reviewed every track individually, I am certain that I would lose my sanity by the end of the last song. Thus, I will approach them by groups. The easiest cluster of songs to describe is the “straightforward” rock songs. Here we find Today Is The Day in fine form, with many of the songs being at least as good as ones found on their previous tracks. Here, jagged riffs and scattershot drumming rule the day. In addition, Steve Austin’s vocals are as abrasive and anguished as ever (although he tends to use his multi-layered “high pitch” vocals/screaming more often than on previous releases). Thankfully, while some of the metal songs sound vaguely similar (an unavoidable occurance with a double album this size), most have various solos and musical breaks to help distinguish themselves amongst the group. Notable standout tracks include “The Descent” (for which an awesome music video was made), the furious “Crooked”, “Invincible”, the huge “Never Answer The Phone” and the truly disheartening “Sadness Will Prevail” (which comes complete with a truly unnerving ending).

Unfortunatly, there is a very large amount of filler and/or ineffective material. Included in this category are song introductions or whole songs that are distorted beyond reason or purpose (the intro to “Distortion Of Nature”, “Miasma”) and shimmering interludes that sound very similar to each other (“Butterflies”, “The Ivory Of Self Hate”, “Your Life Is Over”, and “Friend”). That’s not to say that all of the filler is inherently bad: “Vivicide” consists of a compelling female vocalist, while “Voice Of Reason” and “Your Life Is Over” contain some interesting (though conflicting and possibly detuned) melodies on piano and guitar (with random electronic squeals hovering in the background).

In the long run, it is difficult to give a complete answer as to whether or not I would reccomend this album. On the one hand, it contains musical glimpses of ideas and technicality that are almost revolutionary. However, it contains much that, on the surface, appears extraneous and/or under-developed. Also, it is important to note that this album lacks the one thing which helped make every preceding Today Is The Day album a success: a coherent and unified theme, played with excellent technical prowess. In contrast, this album is sprawled all over the place, from well-played songs to sloppily (assumedly) improvised interludes. I must admit that I have yet found the patience to listen to the entire work from start to finish, and I do not expect many others to be able to either. For those that do however, you will find in “Sadness Will Prevail” a fascinating experience, provided you can stomach the various pitfalls of mediocrity and needless filler that dot the road along the way.

Today Is The Day (Official site)
Supernova Records
Relapse Records

~ by John Lithium on May 5, 2007.

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