REVIEW: Honour Crest - Spilled Ink

Genre: Progressive Metal/Metalcore
Label: Rise
Date of Release: December 10, 2013


Technical metalcore outfit Honour Crest was established in 2009 from Virginia Beach. Up to this point, they released a self-titled EP and two full-lengths: "A Change in Perspective" within the same year of formation, and "Metrics" in 2012. After signing a deal with the famed Rise Records (Miss May I, Of Mice And Men), their third full-length "Spilled Ink" would see the light of day in 2013.

Instrumentally, the album fares very well. Both the screamed and clean vocals are nicely energetic and potent, and neither field sounds forced or underwhelming. The guitars are also played very nicely, giving off both melody and complexity to warrant the listener's interest with the synthesizer acting as their foil. "Mountains" is an example of this prowess, with its introduction definitely being one of the highlights of the record as a whole for how well-orchestrated and technical the guitars are. Speaking of technical, that is a good way to describe the drum-work as well, being solidly played while making room for some nice fills. The musicianship is overall greatly performed.

The album was produced by Cameron Mizell, who also did similar work for renowned bands such as Woe Is Me, Memphis May Fire, and I See Stars, and his work here is as solid as ever. Although it does generally sound a tad too blended, the vocals and instruments sound crisp enough while having a little resonance to make room for atmosphere. The mixing isn't perfect, but it is nonetheless decent.

"Spilled Ink" combines progressive 'djent' metal with melodic metalcore, and it carries out this formula pretty well. The song structures are tightly-built, the tracks are distinct but don't lose identity, and there are a few moments that really stick out, such as the grooves in "Djentle" and the melodic passages in "Mountains." Overall, the planning and execution of this album is quite good. That, however, is the greatest problem with it as well; it's just good. In other words, while there are no major detrimental flaws with the record, there aren't too many things that would make it a great album. It's practically your typical progressive metalcore release that has sort of become a dime a dozen in the scene. As a result, this album is a well-written but somewhat unambitious release. 

In short, "Spilled Ink" is a decent album. Unfortunately, what keeps this album from reaching greater heights on the scale is its lack of innovation to be that interesting. Luckily, however, it's certainly not a bad record, either; the musicianship is very good, the production is solid, and the music is overall well-written and energized. Progressive metalcore fans could take a liking to this release, although it probably isn't the first record one should try out for the genre. All in all, "Spilled Ink" is a fairly solid release. It just would've been much better if it aimed for higher ground.

Score: 6/10 (Fair)