CD Review: OTHERWISE ~ True Love Never Dies
Label: Century Media Records
Release date: May 8, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada. Sin City. But for this rocking quartet, it’s home. For brothers Adrian Patrick (lead vocals) and Ryan Patrick (guitar), Vegas has a lot of memories, both good and bad, including the loss of their cousin not long before their band, Otherwise, was signed to Century Media Records. However, the boys took this tragedy and turned it into something beautiful, and that something is True Love Never Dies. The Patrick brother’s cousin had the phrase tattooed on his neck, so Adrian and Ryan decided that they would pay homage to their fallen cousin and name the album in his honor and the words just so happen to fit with the collective theme of the songs.
For most of you, this is probably the first time you’ve heard of Otherwise, but some of you may recognize Adrian Patrick’s name and voice from the second single off In This Moment’s third studio album, A Star-Crossed Wasteland titled “The Promise.” That’s right, Adrian Patrick lent his vocals to Maria Brink and company for this metalcore love ballad.
As far as debut albums go, True Love Never Dies, pretty much fits the mold, and not all in a good way either. These 14 tracks (three of which are little snippets of instrumentals less than a minute each), don’t really do much toward the variety of the band’s talents as a whole. Most of the songs sound like cookie cutter duplicates of the one before with a final song that offers a glimpse of variety and not much else, but who said you can’t be a one trick pony in the rock music industry?
True Love Never Dies starts off with one of the three instrumental tracks spread out evenly through the album. “I” is a short track that serves to grab your attention and throws you head-first into song number two, “Die for You.” This track hits the ground running and never stops. The guitars and bass pedal of Corky Gainsford’s drum kit pound together like the beating of a heart in this hard rock love poem. Adrian is “so alive, I’d die for” the subject of the song, most likely a love interest. He would break, burn, suffer, lie, and even die for the one he loves; there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for her. So why is he screaming “take my heart, just rip it out, rip it out?” Have a listen and decide for yourself.
The catchy, melodic riff played dually by guitarist Ryan Patrick and then bassist, Flavio Ivan Mendoza, from the start, pull you into True Love Never Dies’ third track, “Lighthouse”. For Adrian, “there’s something about the light in you and it takes away the pain.” He sings of a love that keeps him grounded and sane, even in the toughest times and the worst things that he and his bandmates have had to endure in the twisted city of Las Vegas. The tempo change for the breakdown with “bring me your light” being screamed while the guitars build up to the high point in the song leads the listener into Otherwise’s “Lighthouse” and allows them to escape into the music and forget about everything, even if it’s just for this four-minute song.
Track number six is titled “Vegas Girl.” Gainsford’s fast-paced drumming hits hard and in your face, just like the life of a Vegas call-girl. Adrian’s lyrics contain such things as “pitiful,” “black heart,” “keep living your lie,” and “that tattoo on your back don’t make you beautiful.” In fact, Otherwise wrote this song not as a message to one particular girl, but to a particular “breed” of girl who the band was most likely always around, coming from Vegas. The “dirty little Vegas girl” gets no clients in this group of rockers.
“I Don’t Apologize (1000 Pictures)” lends itself to the possibility of being one of the best songs on the album. This song is about a great relationship gone bad, as so many of them tend to do. According to the band, “it’s an anthem for the heartbroken” and a way to get through it all. Adrian sings of how “all of this time” it was as if they were taking “a thousand pictures just to watch them burn,” a great metaphor for “Why the hell did I waste all my time in this?” Gainsford offers a barrage of cymbal hits on the drums, as if to wake Adrian up out of this stupor so that he can learn from the relationship and “walk through the door” in order to “move on.” Ryan’s riffs offer a light at the end of the tunnel in this bad relationship that the band finds at the end of this track.
“Full Circle” comes up on track 11 of True Love Never Dies and is the album’s second single. This song is about searching for who you really are deep down inside when you may have lost yourself and strayed. Adrian struggles with this throughout the track, but “[he] still believe[s] … there’s someone not so broken” inside that he needs to find again to bring himself “Full Circle” and back to reality. Ryan’s distorted guitar chugs throughout and helps to raise your heartbeat and keep you pumped up while Flavio keeps up on bass. In the end, Adrian decides that he’s going to “keep from going under” and he won’t “[give] in now to the enemy inside.” If you need a song for motivation, this is the track for you.
Track 12 is one you are probably familiar with if you listen to Sirius XM’s Octane channel. “Soldiers” is the hit, break through single for the band. With a motto to stand up and fight for what you believe in, this song rallies the fans of rock that may have been wronged in some way or told they couldn’t be something to show everyone else who is boss. Originally, the guys wrote this song about the struggle that bands face when they are trying to get signed and make a name for themselves, but it turned out to be so much more. It is now a call to arms and a tribute to those courageous men and women that have served their country. Gainsford’s snare drum rapidly hits as a symbol of gunfire in the field of battle and the tom hits sound like cannons going off. Ryan’s lead guitar provides the incitement to march on and Flavio sings the battle cry on his bass. The outro of the song sounds like soldiers marching away from the battle they have just won with chants of “Woah! Oh oh oh oh oh!” in celebration.
“III” is the final instrumental snippet and is a peaceful little acoustic bit that directs the listener into the ballad “Heaven.” This is by far the softest track on the album, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good one. “Heaven” begins with just the Patrick brothers. Adrian’s voice is softer, but still very melodic and powerful, while Ryan plays along with an acoustic guitar. There are obvious religious implications in this song with not only the title, but also in the lyrics. Adrian asks “So if you hear me now, won’t you just send me a sign?” This track seems to be a sort of tribute to the Patrick’s cousin. A third of the way through the song, a woman’s voice comes in for a duet with Adrian that continues for the rest of the song. Ryan’s solo seems to be attempting to speak to a higher power with its long, high-pitched notes frequent throughout and a sense of ascending stairs to Heaven, while Corky and Flavio come in to complete the sound with this fierce appeal to the angels asking “What can I do to bring you back to me?”
Aside from the fact that True Love Never Dies doesn’t really offer much variety of song type for the listener, I had a problem with one track in particular. During song number five, titled “Don’t Be Afraid,” I couldn’t help but be reminded of Paramore’s “Decode.” That’s right, from the Twilight Movie Soundtrack. The opening guitar riffs from Ryan are very reminiscent of the love song between the stupid teenage girl with no self-confidence or self-worth and the sparkling vampire that should have eaten her within seconds and that’s enough to put a dent in the credibility of the song for me.
Overall, this debut marks a promising start for Otherwise. Certainly the talent is there to continue to grow and expand their signature sound. They have the ability to craft memorable songs. In fact, True Love Never Dies already has several radio friendly hits waiting to be released. The album whets the appetite for the possibilities of what’s to come. Since the album’s recording, bassist Mendoza has moved on and rhythm guitarist Vassilios “V” Metropoulos has moved into his spot.