Thursday, 31 July 2008

Review - Johnny Truant - No Tears For The Creatures

Johnny Truant - No Tears For The Creatures

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7 out of 10

Currently in the midst of a massive tour, it's unlikely that among the fire and the fury of a Johnny Truant live show that the subtleties of narrative and the depth of thought that has gone into this flawed but ambitious record come across. From first song to last, from front cover to back cover (Well, maybe not the back cover, that's just a plain old track listing); 'No Tears For The Creatures' is a more complex affair than your average metalcore record.

The symbolic images of wolves and rats feature throughout 'No Tears.', as does the Biblical and Miltonian End Of Days imagery. There are the slobbering fangs of rats and two headed wolves in the artwork, and the lyrics are scattered with references to the apocalypse, lambs, saviours, shepherds, kings and Jesus himself. The last song's title is even directly paraphrased from the Bible: 'The Weeping, Wailing, And Gnashing Of Teeth'. Combined with the slow, thick-as-tar trudge of 'Last Arms Of The Apocalypse' that speeds up into something more fiery, it's pretty scary stuff.

It's not all this intriguing, and 'The Grotesque' is generic, chugging metalcore. It's impenetrable partly due to Olly Mitchell's growl and partly because the lyrics are nonsense about leading undead zombie animals or something. 'Death Rides' adds Bronx/Gallows style riffs, while 'Widower', which features Wade MacNeil of Alexisonfire, is the twin of 'Rolling With The Punches'.

The album's mid-section, bar the discordant 'Crush And Devour' which is metalcore but with both wiry guitars and Muse-size riffs, is straightforward, but on the last three songs Johnny Truant really come of age. 'Sunshine Diver' could be a decent Hydra Head release, while the post-metal build ups in 'Fog Lights' and 'The Weeping.' focus on creating mood and atmosphere rather than using brute force, making them all the more powerful. Mitchell's howl is used minimally and for optimum effect. If this is a hint at their future direction then Johnny Truant could become very exciting indeed.


1. The Grotesque
2. Death Rides
3. Last Arms Of The Apocalypse
4. Widower
5. Crush And Devour
6. In Alcoholica
7. Dead Ships Sinking
8. Sunshine Diver
9. Fog Lights
10. The Weeping, Wailing, And Gnashing Of Teeth

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