"Manipulator" (Equal Vision Records; 2007)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This CD is the follow-up to “Doppelganger.” This album title comes from the song “Sledgehammer,” which is song number seven on this disc. But enough trivia -- lets get to the meat, potatoes and Jell-o. That might be a weird dinner combination, but not for these guys. 

I read Ray Van Horn's review of "Doppelganger" (below) and I had to give this band a listen, primarily because I’m finding music that used to be stepping stones has turned into skipping stones and I’m always looking for something new to listen and then write about.

Since I had some idea that things were not going to be too predictable, I dove into “Manipulator” and I didn’t surface for a few days. I had to listen to this disc about five times in a row and note the time changes and the styles used, etc. Well, on the fourth day my crayon broke. If you tried to label this type of music, you’d be hard pressed to find any words that would do it justice. I’ll admit that the music always kept me guessing, but it never cheated.

The guitar is so strange that you might not think a standard guitar is even present during some of the recording, but it's there and when a heavy metal riff comes in and a jazz/metal/classical solo follows that, well, I can’t tell you what to think. I thought that maybe things would start to fall apart and I’d be let off the hook but the seamless fusion of all styles represented here is incredible. The most prominent style here is progressive, and I’m one for music that explores all avenues and doesn’t just amble down the street and stop at the predicable points.

It takes a while to get into the vocals since Thomas Erak can go from singing to shrill screaming in just one or two bars. You’ll really have little or no time to get used to him. He does however run a full race with his vocal intensity. You can feel when he’s happy and when he’s manic and when malice is creeping in, he’s like a piano with 88 keys to choose from. 

There is a bonus disc included here: “Live At The Boardwalk, Orangeville, California” includes three of the songs from “Manipulator” and one song from “Doppleganger.”

The Fall of Troy: Thomas Erak – vocals, guitar; Tim Ward – bass, backing vocals; Andrew Forsman – drums.

For more information, check out or

"Doppelganger" (Equal Vision Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn, Jr.

If Mars Volta already wasn't the elite masters of their manic punk-inspired art, The Fall of Troy might stand one hell of a chance of stealing that spot.  Simply put, the greatness of this album is only superseded by Volta's "Frances the Mute." Otherwise, The Fall of Troy's "Doppelganger" makes them the most exciting emo-based act out there.  As if Circa Survive didn't boast a nice repertoire themselves, labelmates The Fall of Troy breathtakingly mix overt rock, jazz and funk progression into their loud and brash punk, and the results ought to give Omar and Cedric of you-know-who a bit of concern. 

Seldom do I feel the words robbed of me when writing a review, but The Fall of Troy has accomplished that.  Despite the standard screeched and wailed vocals featured here, this exceedingly talented trio winds and weaves its way masterfully as if bestowed the progressive wands of Yes and Rush and given a collective attaboy pat on their asses by Hot Water Music, and hell, that's only scraping to scratch the surface. 

Not once do the shifty time signatures of The Fall of Troy become confusing; they are effectively seamless compositions that will mystify you at one turn, careen you over another, and leave you flat-out road weary when all is said and finished. 

I was recently impressed by the new Between the Buried and Me, which also injects some serious progression into their hardcore base, and yet The Fall of Troy simply kidney-punched me I nearly pissed blood.  The beautiful guitar work alone ...

As if the music wasn't exhilarating enough, The Fall of Troy, like many of their sonic peers, engage the listeners with guffaw-inducing song titles such as "We Better Learn to Hotwire a Uterus," "Whacko Jacko Steals the Elephant Man's Bones," "McCauley McCulkin" and "You Got a Death Wish Johnny Truant?"  As fearless as The Fall of Troy's music is, so too is their shtick.  It's a winning combination.

Seriously, folks, there's almost no one in the emo/screamo/metalcore sanctions that can touch this band.  If The Fall of Troy somehow decides to extend one iota further toward Mars Volta's mantle (and really, there's no reason they shouldn't), look the hell out …

For more information, check out

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to Home

Copyright © 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13 May 2024 14:45:21 -0400 .