In The Blink Of An Eye

Written by: BL on 21/02/2010 23:47:45

Fact's Vagrant Records debut album last year was a surprisingly strong far east offering which I was thoroughly impressed with - big hooks, great musicianmanship all around, and some oddly unique vocal work. Some big tours outside of Japan now in the bag and at least a far greater recognition particularly in the US and here in Europe, Fact's followup should hopefully really seal the deal of these guys being one of the stronger members of the new generation of screamo-embracing J-rock bands. I was wondering if we'd get a tighter package this time since the last album jumped all over the place stylistically, and therefore I only revisited certain songs because of the style in those particular songs.

And that seems to be exactly the name of the game here as this new record is just over fifteen minutes shorter than the previous (considering the last record had sixteen tracks to the twelve here), but not only that - the sound of the album is far more defined. Their brand of punk rock fuelled post-hardcore feels far more coherent on the whole, the trade-off being that there is no longer such a big surprise factor at what's around the corner we had with the last album, nor is there any one style dominant in any given song. The production here is superb though, crisp clear guitar tones that highlight both the abundance of crunchy technical riffs and the gleaming lead play that noodles back and fourth, punctuated by a thick and wholesome drum sound that do well to showcase Eiji the drummer's impressive energetic style. Both creatively and technically the band is as strong as ever instrumentally speaking.

Hironobu, the lead vocalist, still sings in his slightly broken English and still has that trademark high pitched sound with a very strong Japanese accent (though it isn't as strong as before, and his English has mildly improved), and although the vocoder still comes in on the catchy "Behind A Smile", the overall autotuning is a bit more subtle. He even brings in some powerful screams for the heaviest song on the album, "Silent Night" (as well as some rather cringey lyrics - "Silent night, violent night"), alongside his familiar screaming guitarists (who scream a lot less now, especially in the second half of the album when it becomes more poppy).

Even though you can feel the band has improved technically, and honed their sound considerably, there's now a sense of restraint which makes this album slightly disappointing compared to their self titled previous effort - for example some of the ridiculously catchy moments from the last album (like "Reborn" or "Lights Of Vein") no longer make as frequent an appearance. That isn't to say you won't find any memorable moments on the album though, since there's still plenty to enjoy here, like the infectious "This Is The End", or the piercing post-hardcore leads on "Fade" - and then there's the howler that is "Silent Night". If you enjoyed the last album then you will still find a lot to appreciate here for sure, and it is equally welcoming to newcomers with an open mind for hook driven technical post-hardcore.


Download: This Is The End, Silent Night, Fade
For the fans of: 9mm Parabellum Bullet, Ellegarden, Protest The Hero
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.01.2010
Vagrant Records

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