Songwriters commonly use the follow-up to breakthrough albums as vehicles for introspection, but Chiodos
' Craig Owens gets intensely almost uncomfortably personal on the recently released Bone Palace Ballet
, converting a former lover's unedited correspondence into lyrics ("A Letter from Janelle") and singing the phrase ("All the world's a stage") he has tattooed across his sternum. The record takes its title from a Charles Bukowski collection, and Owens' characters recall that writer's misanthropic anti-heroes, particularly when he's sabotaging his own seductive ballad by warning an interested woman, "I'm not the one that you want/I'll only let you down." Largely discarding the thunderous breakdowns from 2005's All's Well That Ends Well
, Chiodos blends jutting guitar leads, piano melodies and dramatic falsetto vocals, recalling Muse instead of hardcore contemporaries. It will be interesting to see if Chiodos can reconcile its trademark spastic, goofy live vibe with its symphonically gloomy new material.