The Fall of Troy's New Album 'OK' Is Anything But

The Fall of Troy's New Album 'OK' Is Anything But

A reminder that music is still for the fans, no matter what.
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What can be said about The Fall of Troy? They are a band that defies logic; moving flawlessly from light, melodic riffs to in-your-face shredding at the drop of a hat. Their new album exemplifies this, but not in the same way past albums have.

In 2002, The Fall of Troy released their self-titled album, with it bringing us songs like "Rockstar Nailbomb" and "Wacko Jacko Steals the Elephant Bones," cementing themselves as a band that wanted to push the limitations of what they could achieve by combining chaos with calm in seemingly random spurts.

The resulting album was completed in only one week. The band members were seventeen at the time, with the exception of the front man, lead guitarist and lead vocalist Thomas Erak, who was eighteen. As his last name foreshadows, Erak has a tendency to lean towards a very erratic style that reflected his youth, making their first album a reflection of that raw, underdeveloped theme of being a teenager as a growing process that has a tendency to be random and crazy. Mix that with some pretty intense screaming from both Erak and the other members, and you get something that was unprecedented, to say the least.

Every member of TFOT contributed something unique; Andrew Forsman, giving us the perfect drum compliment to Erak's unpredictable guitar, and both Tim Ward (the original backup vocalist and bassist) and Frank Ene (the bassist that was in the band for their album "Phantom on the Horizon") do amazing jobs creating a backdrop in which Erak can work his magic without having to worry about any role other than his own. The vocals provided by both bassists created a dichotomy to Erak's whiny yet serious tone that made each song feel unique, and it's something that's always carried throughout all of their releases.

Fast forward to 2016, after TFOT went on their hiatus after releasing "In the Unlikely Event," the original band members came back to give us "OK" for free. That's right, for free.

According to the band's website, "This album represents hope; that things can be different, that the past doesn’t have to always weigh on the present. We give this album to you now for free, because we know that you deserve it."

Now is that not just the sweetest thing?

Now, for free, we have "OK," and in my opinion, it's their heaviest album to date. Immediately, we are hit with a new kind of grittier scream, reminiscent of older punk bands, and we can hear Erak's signature guitar in the background squealing away with pitch harmonics and fast, complicated riffs.

There is something different, however: The Fall of Troy have grown up. They have found a way to structure their insanity, making the album feel more complete and stable, yet still feel as though it's about to explode. The first two songs open with heavy screaming, and even though in the third track we start with Erak's familiar voice, there's something new about it: he has refined himself into something more. His old style is there, but it's in the foundation, not the end product. You can hear "Doppelganger" and "Manipulator" in every song, but you can also hear the more refined experience "In the Unlikely Event" gave us.

After listening in depth to the album numerous times, I can honestly say that it's a worthy addition to TFOT's impressive list of albums. Though not my favorite, I feel as though they did a fantastic job growing and maturing, seeing not only an obvious change in the music but a direction and a foundation. They never walked away from their roots; instead they let them grow into the album that is "OK."

Though, contrary to the name, this album is far from just "OK." This is a strong comeback album in an era that's not nice to bands releasing albums after long break ups.

The Fall of Troy knew they had to come back strong, and they did, not only offering the album for free but making it something that I gladly donated for, and would have paid for. It's rare that a band can create so many quality albums, but those exceptions, rare as they are, exist; one of them being "OK" by The Fall of Troy.

If you're a fan of the band, don't think twice. Get it right now. Stop reading this article, and download that album. You will not regret it.

If you aren't a fan or haven't heard them before, this is a good place to start. Though I'd personally recommend "Manipulator" and "Doppelganger" over this, it's free and obviously, a lot of work went into it. It's quality music, and is absolutely worth the download.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank the band personally, on behalf of your fans. Thank you for never letting us down. To me, you guys exemplify what it means to be a musician in a world that has become superficial and sour. I am in no way saying all music is like this, but I am saying you guys have managed to restore my faith in music, one song at a time.

Thank you for this gift, and I assure you it's not being squandered.

Cover Image Credit: The Fall of Troy, OK Album Cover

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Board Games Are More Important Than You Think They Are

They've become a defining part of my family.

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Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a family game night? Or your friends would come over and you'd open the game cabinet and play at least three different games together?

Maybe it's just me, but those are some of my best memories from my childhood. My family loves games, board games, and electronic games.

Of course, as I got older, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Wii became more and more popular. That meant that the game cabinet was opened less and less, collecting dust.

Thankfully, I live in New Jersey near the shore and Hurricane Sandy left my family with no power for five days. Sure, it was scary not having power and walking around my neighborhood seeing fallen trees or roof shingles, but we were inland enough to not have had any flood water damage.

No power also meant no PlayStation or Wii games. The gaming cabinet was opened again, this time with vigor. Now, four years later, and I still think about sitting in the dark with a flashlight playing Scrabble with my family.

That was also the week I learned how to play Yahtzee and dominated my dad in every game. My sister constantly was looking for someone to play her to Battleship. We exhausted Rummikub.

The game was already a family favorite, and that's including extended family. Family barbeques had been ending with late night games of Rummikub for at least a year by the time Sandy hit.

We were ready to strategize and crunch numbers, but after day three, we never wanted to a number ever again.

This semester, there's been a surge of board game love again in my family. My sister bought Jenga, which we are currently trying to exhaust ourselves with. My favorite board game also had a comeback: Life.

I loved this game so much that I had the SpongeBob version as a kid. I would play it with my best friend, just the two of us, playing game after game of Bikini Bottom themed Life. Now, I have a car full of "kids" that I've started to make pets in my head. I can handle having five pretend dogs, but not five pretend kids.

I don't know what it is about board games, but my family has always had an affinity for them. We've gone through our cycles of playing video games and card games, but we always come back to the classics. Maybe it's more a defining part of my family than I originally thought.

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