AlbumsNovember 29, 201121,466 views

Poison The Well The Tropic Rot

01. Exist Underground 02. Sparks It Will Rain 03. Cinema 04. Pamplemousse 05. Who Doesn't Love a Good Dismemberment? 06. Antarctica Inside Me 07. When You Lose I Lose As Well 08. Celebrate the Pyre 09. Are You Anywhere? 10. Makeshift Clay You 11. Without You and One Other I Am Nothing
2009 Ferret Music
Our score 7

by Nick

Forget the revolving door of members over the years. Forget the rise to and fall from a major label. Forget the near "classic" status of the now ten years old The Opposite of December. There are a number of ways in which one could dissect Poison the Well's storied career in the hardcore scene, but quite frankly, we should be less concerned with analyzing the evolution of one of the genre's most recognizable names and more concerned with answering one question: is it at all possible for them to rebound from the jangly, western-tinged mess that was 2007's Versions Astonishingly enough, yes, the South Florida band has proven themselves up to the task with The Tropic Rot, a clever hybrid that strikes a unique balance between progressive hardcore and brooding rock. In a way, it's similar to Cave In's Perfect Pitch Black -- not necessarily in sound, but in the presence of two very different songwriting mentalities (and eras) butting heads to produce a record that's partially unstable, but very appealing. Album opener, "Exist Underground," quickly sets the tone by immediately locking into thick mid-paced riff accompanied by coarse screams before easing into a calm, melodic verse with the singing of "You're scared your existence no longer means what you thought it did." The most immediate comparison of The Tropic Rot's constant push/pull between abrasive and melodic would be that of an older Ferret gem, Scarlet's Cult Classic. Although Poison the Well's attack on the abrasive side is far more driving and cohesive (read: completely breakdown-free) than Scarlet's technical metalcore chaos, the use of quick transitions into soothing, almost ominous singing is a definite point of overlap. Tracks like "Cinema" and "Celebrate the Pyre" follow a similar balanced formula, but the true treasures of The Tropic Rot come with the band's more mellow experiments. Amidst a constantly driving backbone of drumming, "Pamplemousse" delves into a tranquil passage of layered guitars and strong singing. But as the track progresses, the layers of instrumentation that began as a mere foundation fluidly swell, propelling the song toward a cathartic close. The twang of Versions shows up in "When You Lose I Lose As Well," but the dose is welcomed in the context of the record and soon gives way to a well-developed melodic conclusion, much like that of "Pamplemousse." Yet the record isn't without its flaws. Some of the clean singing gets trapped in a few repetitive choruses, and thus might trigger a touch of irritation from hinting at the hard-verse-melodic-chorus metalcore formula. Also, since most of the singing uses a drawn out, almost lethargic technique, a lot of emphasis is placed upon the album's lyrical content, which, unfortunately, isn't always helped by this added spotlight. Lines like "She's a ballerina / She dances circles around me" in "Antarctica Inside Me" and "I'm done with these movie screens in my head / They preoccupy me long enough" in "Cinema" aren't quite ready to be given the center stage. Bottom Line: Poison the Well's fifth full-length, The Tropic Rot, is one of 2009's best surprises. They've picked themselves up after releasing the muddled, twang-heavy Versions, and have found a slick balance between moments of forceful hardcore and dysphoric melody. A few blatantly weak lyrics suggest that maybe the singing style has a downside, and there is still a touch of some formulaic songwriting, but on the whole, this is a strong release.


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mofugger69_ 7/6/2009 10:10:26 AM

Nice review. I totally agree, they have come back strong with this new album. Best thing they've recorded since TFTR.

al_czervik_ 7/6/2009 10:11:16 AM

thought this was really good.

onemeansquid_ 7/6/2009 10:25:01 AM

i was actually surprised by this record. versions was awful but i'm enjoying this one alot. pretty accurate review.

december_ 7/6/2009 10:31:06 AM

good review...actually summed up my exact thoughts pretty much

cobra_ 7/6/2009 10:33:14 AM

f*ck that, Versions is great and this album has just as much western-tinged mess.

Brett__ 7/6/2009 11:40:08 AM

but on the whole

chefsam_ 7/6/2009 12:04:09 PM

great review. great album.

Mike_ 7/6/2009 12:33:06 PM

This is a great record, Well written and themed. Thought the songs worked better together then most of P.T.W past records. I can see what you mean by the Cave In Balance except we would never know since Pitch Black wasn't a new record, we don't know the direction they would have gone from Antenna we know they have been mixing sounds and styles for a while. Hope they release new material soon. I thought Versions was a more "Pitch Black" style because its the kind of record made in between

Seppe_ 7/6/2009 1:08:55 PM

"western-tinged mess "??? Versions is their best album to date by far.. so many different sorts of instruments all incorporated in such a good way they add a lot of value to the songs on that album... Def one of the better HC releases of 2007(?) and I haven't heard this one yet, but I'm pretty excited to say te least. Probably worth no less than an 8.

bkr_ 7/6/2009 1:14:54 PM

good review, but it really deserves an 8/10.

Gridiron_ 7/6/2009 2:00:39 PM

This record is good I would give it an 8. I think versions kinda gets a bad wrap because of its heavy experimentation. What you were really seeing in my opinion was a band in transition. You Come Before You and versions alike both had moments that blew my mind but when you experiment as much as PTW has over the past couple records your gonna have some failure mixed in with that success. Not to say The Tropic Rot is mistake free by any means (I sure hope that ballerina was a metaphor for somethin

fuck_nick_ 7/6/2009 2:35:49 PM

f*ck nick

anonymous 7/6/2009 3:11:53 PM

Gridiron is into "sick ass viking metal"

anonymous 7/6/2009 4:19:05 PM

Gridiron should write reviews for this site. He seems to have every qualification: No comprehension of English and a devoted love to c-ck.

anaturaldisaster_ 7/6/2009 4:22:18 PM

Better than Versions, not as good as the first three full-lengths. The lyrics are terrible, that whole "pearl necklace" bit in the last song is embarassing.

Godfather_ 7/6/2009 4:38:35 PM

Good album, really tiresome chore of a review.

Selvin_ 7/6/2009 4:47:30 PM

"jangly, western-tinged mess that was 2007's Versions" Nick, your father must've been disappointed when he found out you were a gay.

anonymous 7/6/2009 5:25:07 PM

what the f*ck does scarlet have to do with anything?

Sherwin Williams _ 7/6/2009 5:47:50 PM

I highlydoubt the singer was talking about giving someone a pearl necklace. Why would anyone take this bands lyrics in that way. They have always had deeper meanings than what your reading.

user1031278_ 7/6/2009 6:41:19 PM

damn good album.

UrbanStrike_ 7/6/2009 6:51:46 PM

This has just as much of a "western-tinge" to it. Versions wasn't bad, and this is as good if not better.

bonerlord_ 7/6/2009 7:31:19 PM

Wasn't Cult Fiction released by Spitfire?

nocturnal420_ 7/6/2009 7:37:53 PM

Wasn't Cult Fiction released by Spitfire? posted by bonerlord () on 7/6/2009 7:31:19 PM they sure did. too bad he referenced cult classic which was released by none other than scarlet. idiot.

bonerlord_ 7/6/2009 7:49:42 PM

WHOOPS! Scarlet's Cult Classic... Spitfire's Cult Fiction... both bands sharing members... I'm not going to put effort into keeping the shit straight.

MIssRevolution_ 7/6/2009 8:00:14 PM

Then you shouldnt be posting if you dont have anything comprehensible to say Boner, you should probably focus on putting effort into ending your life. f*cking idiot.

MIssRevolution_ 7/6/2009 8:01:23 PM

Decent review, Versions was it for this type of music in 07, expanded on an almost dead genre, this will no doubt be in the top 20 of 09.

eadup_ 7/6/2009 9:37:51 PM

I'd give it at least an 8. I see a very steady progression from Version (which I enjoyed thoroughly) to this. I've been going back to this regularly.

adam hellbound_ 7/6/2009 11:57:52 PM

Shit review.

anonymous 7/7/2009 8:05:27 AM

I don't care what you asshats say, I'd let Nick tenderly brush the tip of his p33n against my orifices any day of the week.

cultclassic_ 7/7/2009 8:22:41 PM

i'd probably give it an 8 as well. Review was ehh, but any reference to Scarlet is ok with me.

james_ 7/7/2009 11:05:56 PM

i like this record a lot but i think that their live show sums up whatever legacy they'll have under this name: some new songs and then the hits. i appreciate that they don't write breakdowns anymore, but people are always going to wanna hear that shit live. so it's a bit of an interesting situation.

Minoritybabble_ 7/8/2009 2:10:31 AM

Stop writing music reviews, douche pipe.

nevermindthatshit_ 7/8/2009 2:23:23 AM


i_like_your_eyes_ 7/8/2009 9:08:59 AM

no one mentioned this sounds like deftones yet?

anonymous 7/8/2009 11:41:43 AM

mike strata > mike_dexter. f*cking fact.

anonymous 7/8/2009 12:48:52 PM

what the f*ck? i thought the western twang was the only thing that made them any good.

HBDad_ 7/8/2009 4:04:57 PM

I love this CD!!! Its like a mix of all of their other albums. Some songs sound like they came off "Opposite of...", some from "Tear From...", a couple sound very "You Come Before..." and of course a couple of songs sound like they could have come from "Versions". There are still two tracks from their 2005 pre-Versions demo that never got rerecorded for Versions (or used on the I/III, II/III, III/III" EP of Versions leftovers) that I was hoping they rerecorded for this album. Since they had at l

shutyourfacehole_ 7/9/2009 10:41:11 PM

versions was a twangy mess? did you want some regurgitated metalcore disc that sounds like any of the trillion bands spawned from Opposite or TFTR? versions was an experiment and i f*ckin loved it. and tropic rot is the answer to those who couldn't go that far out, its got the western tinge but with more of the trademark PTW. deftones? maybe if saturday night wrist hadn't f*cked them up so bad, but still not right. scarlet? also a left field reference. the fact that there isn't a decent comparis

queerface_ 7/10/2009 12:49:17 PM

lambgoat reviewers can suck the shit out of my jerk. versions 4 lyfe

cousingoat_ 7/17/2009 4:52:59 PM

This album was decent.TFTR still tops anything they have ever put out.

agent_friday_ 7/18/2009 2:35:07 AM

I figured you were reviewing this album. Not comparing it to Versions. Idiot.

Nick_ 7/21/2009 12:26:50 AM


ChachiBona_ 7/22/2009 1:33:16 PM

Not seeing the big difference from Versions. The CD is good, but to me I felt as if they should have tried harder to get away from Versions. I'm not looking for the older PTW just something different. I guess in a sense REAL DIFFERENT, but isnt that what everyone these days is trying to do. I'd give them an A for effort, but a C+ for the outcome.

tdaddyfunkypants_ 8/3/2009 6:24:25 AM

Probably one of the dopest albums to be released in a long time.

Bill O'Reilly_ 8/3/2009 4:06:51 PM


StillJamsDistanceEP_ 8/6/2009 7:31:59 PM

Kid I know went to that 10 bands for 10 bucks show last night, said the majority of the crowd left when these guys took the stage. Pretty sad considering they headlined the thing. The only thing that hasnt changed dramatically about this band is the name. I heard this album, not my thing but I see where it gets some good talk about it.

njb_ 8/17/2009 2:20:37 PM

Best Record of 2009 hands down. I've listened to this record on loop since I bought it. Everything about it is fantastic and the transition from track to track is great. Don't know why Jeff gets so much flack for his lyrics/singing, because he gets better with every record. Most his lyrics are metaphors for things much closer and deeper to him... i thought "she's a ballerina" was cheesy at first myself, but after listening to the song so many times and reading the lyrics I get it, and now I

Patrick_ 8/23/2009 7:11:00 PM

Versions was by far PTW's best work. It was mature and brilliant and original and somewhat epic. The Tropic Rot just sounds like a horrible forced studio album that they made over night to please fans of Opposite of December. I love PTW to death but this last release was horrid and so unoriginal. By far the worst PTW album to date.

anonymous 8/25/2009 4:37:52 PM

solid album. not as good as older stuff, but solid none the less

mr.sparkles_ 1/6/2010 6:12:14 PM

what happens when the Tear From The Red kids like me grow Up???? A haunting piece of post hardcore art called The Tropic Rot. Great f*cking album, haters can go suck off Rise Records for their money shot of re-written v-neck breakdowns. gays.

anonymous 4/23/2010 10:29:20 PM

Poison The Well has always f*cking ruled. With so much f*cking awful trash coming out these days its really awesome to see one of the veterans of the genre survive and still create powerful music.

PoolShark25 3/6/2013 11:31:24 PM

least fav of their albums 2 soft