Jane Doe really took me by surprise. As someone who's opinion of "core" has been contaminated by bands such as Bring Me The Horizon and Emmure, this album was sort of "Well, let's give the best of this genre a shot and see if it can redeem itself." And it has. Jane Doe is a whirlwind of emotion and technicality that never ceases and makes you longing for more when it does finally fade out. Every song is a cohesive experience, you're not going to "get it" by just listening to Homewrecker or Concubine by itself; it needs the context of the album to fully appreciate. Every song is absolutely essential, feeling like a mad house until the last track fills you with some sense of closure, but still longing for more.
The lyrics have no real structure to them and instead every song feels like a poem, but with hXe screams. Most people are put-off from the vocal style, but I think if you can get over that fact you can find some really meaningful stuff. Jane Doe's lyrics were written from Jacob Bannon's heart and I really do think it blends very well. He takes you on a journey where you feel everything from: shock, to denial, to depression, to hatred, defeat, self-loathing, loneliness, and hope. When all our roads have been travelled and all have come to a most bitter end: Today I thaw.
And of course there are the instruments. There are nothing short of being some of the most creative I've heard in a while. There is no question that this is also a masterpiece regarding technicality. Right away within the first 30 seconds of the album, it throws you into odd time signatures, crazy riffing, blast beats, and screaming. Concubine sure kicks off the album with haste. And it really doesn't slow down with Fault and Fracture, continuing on with Concubine's crazy theme. But what I like about this song so much is the outro. The drums crashing in and then speeding up the song is just great. After that is Distance and Meaning which actually utilizes clean vocals. And yes, I have to say it has calmed down a bit here, although that riff in the beginning still sounds pretty clustered. Now, Hell to Pay is when it really calms down. No doubt the calmest song on the album, and it has a very climatic song structure. It also has some great lyrics and how they're presented are great:
"That night, I think he cried himself to sleep Just maybe, he felt more than we could ever know And I think he pulled that trigger to empty that memory I think he cut the weight to end the floods of you Let him soar, let him ride as budding gravestones do Just sleep, girl, just dream well"
Then it goes into Homewrecker, which is kind of a 'rocking' song, believe it or not...at least I think so. It's still mathcore, don't get me wrong, but it has a certain drive to it that kinda makes it feel like that. Maybe it's the cowbell. Then there's The Broken Vow which is a pleasant little 2 minute'r. Starts off sounding like hardcore punk, but then quickly switches to a more mellow song until it finally hits you with the outro. And then it hits you with an even shorter song. This one just has a very punk-y tone through-out, I think. Heaven In Her Arms is when the album starts to take a turn. It's pretty fast the first half, but then it quickly goes into a more heavy sounding riff and then slows down until it fades off into Phoenix in Flight. Phoenix in Flight is like any other song on here, as it's just kinda slow and has an epic (forgive me for using that word) feel to it. It just sort of builds on itself instrumentally and then brings it home with a driving outro. And then there Phoenix in Flames which is just nuts. Just screaming and drums and the production turns kinda shotty. It serves as an excellent transition to Thaw, which is one of my favorites. It just never gets dull; it starts off with an awesome riff, and then just erupts with, yes you guessed it, an awesome outro. I know I kinda used that phrase a lot, but it's true: a lot of these songs' finishes are just golden. And I have to say, the best outro, and reward for the best song on the album, goes to Jane Doe: the epic to end it all. This song practically makes the album. I don't like to throw around the word 'perfect' a lot, but this song may just be. It's not as chaotic as you would think, but the song is driven by such emotion that it can be easily forgiven and in fact you wouldn't want it either way.
Jane Doe has went far beyond my expectations and deserves a 5 star for how much it enlightened me on other genres. It gives me hope for all of those other genres I disregarded. Maybe they will have a Jane Doe of their own.
Run on girl, run on.