The latest album from Montreal metalcore crew Obey the Brave maintains the sound they've been developing since their 2012 debut Young Blood, but the band have added a bit of experimentation to their approach. While Mad Season still has all of the hard-hitting, in-your-face breakdowns Obey the Brave have made their signature, the group have started dabbling more in clean vocals and even the hip-hop realm.
The lyrical themes vocalist Alex Erian touches on dramatically contrast his other band Despised Icon by taking a very uplifting and motivational approach. Erian's words of empowerment are conveyed more powerfully than on previous albums courtesy of using his singing voice, which shows improved range and timbre here, more often. Elsewhere, the band experiment with hip-hop-styled vocals and electronic sounds on the collaborative track "RIP" with French Canadian rap group Loud Lary Ajust.
Obey the Brave show great skill in creating straightforward hardcore riffs on the album, but rely on the typical characteristics of metalcore too often. The choruses here are packed with power chords, and are almost always followed by a drop-tuned, chugged-out riff that leads to certain songs losing momentum. Tracks such as "Low Key" and lead single "On Our Own" are catchy and heavy enough, but songs such as "Feed the Fire" and "The Distance" drag the album down with forgettable filler. (Epitaph)