PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Famous Last Words: Council of the Dead

Famous Last Words is an enjoyable group, but they aren’t going to light the metal world on fire with originality.


Famous Last Words

Council of the Dead

Label: InVogue
US Release Date: 2014-08-25
UK Release Date: 2014-08-26
Amazon
iTunes

Famous Last Words, a pop metal band, is pretty popular. The band’s debut album Two-Faced Charade has sold 10,000 copies in America to date, which is fairly respectable for an independent band. According to the “sell points” in the press materials, the band has acquired nearly 200,000 Facebook likes and tens of thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers, so this all points to a band that mines rocks and hardcore sounds to a mass appeal. However, there is an air of familiarity to the group’s latest album, Council of the Dead. Screamo-vocals? Check. Staccato guitar licks? Check. Use of Auto-Tune on some vocals? Check. Songs that all sound the same? Check. You might think that I’m basically writing off Famous Last Words here, but that’s not really the case. You can see why this outfit has reached a broad audience, as they are pop in the popular sense, but it’s just that there’s nothing that’s new or invigorating here. Famous Last Words do a job, and do it fairly well at that, but there’s not much more to them than that.

If you can say anything about Council of the Dead, it is that it is ambitious. It’s, I think, a concept album about the afterlife, but it’s hard to be sure, for while there’s a soulful chant to the singing, there are also guttural vocals -- and you know that vocals tend to take a back seat in the metal genre, and burying the theme behind a series of screams makes it hard to say for sure what’s going on. Still, there’s an intro that welcomes listeners to the great beyond, there’s the sound effect of a heart monitor going flatline at the end of one of the songs, and there are choir vocals on “Brothers in Arms” that sound as though they come from beyond the pearly gates. That would lead one to believe that this is pretty morbid stuff, but not so morbid to put off all those pop music fans. Council of the Dead, while hardly innovative, will still get you to punch holes in the wall, which is what bands like this want you to do, and as far as pure aggression goes, this is pretty by the book. In the end, all I can say is that Famous Last Words is an enjoyable group, but they aren’t going to light the metal world on fire with originality. It is what it is, and if you like metal with all of the edges sanded off, Council of the Dead will likely tide you over until the next thing comes along to command your attention.

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.