First off the bad. The album draws a little too much from contemporary metalcore acts like Sleeping With Sirens and Pierce The Veil. Some of the songs sound like you've heard them before. The song Back To Hannalei which is their slow ballad like song, falls flat. At it's worst the album just sounds generic, like it could get lost in the ocean of other metalcore acts. At it's best the album is a perfect storm of horrorpunk, metalcore, and even pop. Particularly the song Never In Reverie blends a poppy chorus, dark lyrics and explosive blast beats and heavy riffs into just a fun song. The song H8 Meh, which has one of the dumbest titles of 2015 is actually a great song, very reminiscent of D.R.U.G.S, the super group guitarist Matt Good was in briefly with Craig Owens of Chiodos, starting with a fast paced opening riff and one of the best breakdowns of the year.
Like I said before I was never really into FFTL during the Sonny Moore years. This album is of course going to be forced into comparisons with their older work. Particularly new frontman Spencer will be compared to Sonny. As someone who has not already formed an opinion before listening, I went back a listened to their first two albums. There's also a few rerecorded songs on Dead Trees to make a direct comparison. Personally I'd have to say they're fairly close but I would give the edge to Spencer. He takes the best elements of Sonny's voice which always bordered on, but never crossed over into, whiney, and has much better screams. Of the rerecorded songs The Latest Plague is the only one that's clearly better with Sonny. There will be fans of course who will consider this blasphemy and hold Sonny as being the only true FFTL frontman but I would disagree. Not to say Sonny Moore wasn't good, just Spencer does it better.
So how is this for band returning with brand new frontman, replacing someone as iconic as Sonny Moore, after five years? Pretty damn good. It's probably not going to win over anyone who isn't into metalcore. It definitely will convince newer metalcore fans to give this band a look. I would say give it a look, it isn't the best album this year, but it's a nice blend of pop, horror, and metalcore.