For The Fallen Dreams


Written by: BL on 30/08/2009 18:26:48

In my ongoing epic battle to work my way through the 3 Rs that is the Rise Records Roster I've found my way onto a familiar face of For The Fallen Dreams. This 5 piece straight out of Lansing, Michigan, US plays under the sub genre of chugging metalcore that most of my fellow editors wouldn't go near with a yard stick. Their last album "Changes" was plagued by repetitiveness and was a laboured exercise in 2nd rate Misery Signals worship. Their only redeeming factor was the range of bright gleaming melodies employed throughout as a means to break the boring constantly galloping and breakdowning rhythm guitars, which itself isn't exactly fresh given that Misery Signals (arguably the current front runner) employ the same ingredient in their blueprints.

With "Relentless" there was a personnel change in the shape of new vocalist Dylan Richter, who doesn't seem all that dissimilar to previous vocalist Chad Ruhlig at first as they both have a similar mid range roar for a growl, though later it becomes apparent Dylan has a far greater range, which beats the monotony of the last album by quite a stretch. A big new element for vocals discovered soon into the first chorus of the first track "The Call Out Perceptions" though is that bassist Joe Ellis brings some clean vocals to the mix (which at least is good since the bass guitar he brings to mix can't be heard still). They're fairly tuneful and aren't overdone or overbearing, yet at the same time they're not insignificant either as the way they're similarly used in "A Plethora Of" and particularly in "In Sincerity" (incidentally my favourite tracks on the record) really brings in an extra dimension to their previously 2-dimensional breakdown filled battleground. Speaking of which, the breakdowns were very frustrating on the last record because often you would have multiple instances of them in any given song with little meaning or purpose other than to satisfy those out to break faces and jaws. Here at least they're somewhat a lesser factor and most songs now will only have 1 or 2 (which given the genre is more bearable). Not only that but now a little more creative design has been added in the song writing department to ensure these sections are more well placed and more varying. Some great harmonised growling and atmospheric lead guitar brings additional layers to the end of "Before I Regret" and the heavy-duty and appropriately named "Nightmares".

Which brings me onto the guitars in general - a whole mixed bag result. In one hand, there is a slight reduced presence of the melodies that rang so bright on "Changes". The intro to "December Everyday" and "In Sincerity" being the songs where you have a really overwhelming melodic presence while the other songs still have melody throughout but they're far more restrained somewhat. This is to allow a greater layering and texturing overall and you'll begin to notice this on "A Plethora Of" where the now smaller melodic injections run in and out, and around each other fighting for your attention. I like the added thickness to the sound that will appear as a progression, but the problem is that they haven't addressed the biggest problem to their sound that also plagues many other chugcore bands - repetition. Almost every song follows the same pattern like they did on "Changes". And even though there aren't so many breakdowns, there is still too much chugging here and chugging there to really interest the more alien listener. This writer tried to like this album on the whole but got tired of listening about 2/3s of the way in, and the laboured closer "The Pain Loss" only really brought one's attention back half way with a mildly decent clean vocal passage supported by a melodic crescendo that finished the album on a positive note.

One other brief mention goes out to Andrew Tkaczyk the drummer for putting in a very competent and much improved performance this time round. Some complicated time signature changes throughout is made to sound easy and flowing with the double bass pedals constantly racing with the guitars toe to toe, fighting to be the signature part of the band. Helped also by, yes that man again, Joey Sturgis's ever improving drum production sound that is now much thicker and more visceral compared to the thin, clicking texture of his past work on their last album. The band at least made a step forward from their debut with all this in mind, but unfortunately and running out of positives to say they still haven't overcome the issue of being a stale slice of bread on a plate served too many times that is this metalcore genre. A recommendation only if you're into this stuff therefore, otherwise Misery Signals is your introduction to this game and first port of call.

Download: The Call Out Perceptions, A Plethora Of, In Sincerity
For the fans of: Misery Signals, Bury Your Dead, Eternal Lord
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.07.2009
Rise Records

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