Fear Before The March Of Flames

The Always Open Mouth

Written by: PP on 14/11/2006 12:57:52

Aside from having one of my favorite band names in the world, Fear Before The March Of Flames are also one of the most 'scene' bands in the world, at least if judging by their live apperance and their trendy, senseless hardcore/melody fusion of their previous album "Art Damage", and the fact that they've toured with every cult band out there starting from Between The Buried And Me and Darkest Hour, going through UnderOATH, Norma Jean and The Fall Of Troy. So when one of the trendiest bands on the scene changes direction into a more progressive, experimental sound, we can finally conclude what we have been suspecting for the last six months or so: the trend has shifted.

"The Always Open Mouth" is like from another world when compared to "Art Damage". Gone are the breakneck paced, in your face screamo vocals over punishing hardcore breakdowns and semi clean choruses. Instead, both "Drowning The Old Hag" and "Mouth" use bonecrushingly heavy riff structures that hammer their way through your skull, and frontman David Marion isn't screaming more than he is growling and whisperously yelling. Come the choruses of both of these songs and in with the gloomy clean vocals that help to create the kind of melody that just should not sound pleasing - yet it is odd enough to strike through to the listener as both original and innovative. "Ten Seconds In Los Angeles" starts out with this debauched melody with near spoken out vocals in the midst of keyboard effects and gentle strokes of the guitar, before the bridge introduces a rhythm change lasting just a couple of seconds. The screamed shouts don't return before the fantastic chorus which, once again, should by all logic not sound as appealing as it does, but it captivates anyway. "The Waiting Makes Me Curious" is another oddity with its unusually slow pace for a FBTMOF song. It experiments with unruly, gentle guitar structures and soft, submissive vocals to soothe you into a false tranquillity for the majority of the song, while at the same time slowly progressing louder and louder, only to finish in a great chaotic crescendo of desperate shouts and blurred echoing riffs that fill the soundscape from left and right.

The kind of mass-murderer spoken out vocals David pulls off in "High As A Horse" should scare anyone, and together with "The Waiting Makes Me Curious" is FBTMOF at their most strangest, darkest state on the album. "Dog Sized Bird"'s layered clean vocals unmask the kind of desperation you'd hear from someone hanging from the edge of the 84th floor of a skyscraper while begging a stranger not to step on their fingers - you really need to hear it to understand it fully. "My Deer Hunter" is the second best track on the album after "Mouth", and not surprisingly they are similar in many ways. Both have the ghastly clean vocal choruses that beg you to sing along, and both have the experimentalist guitar sessions in the verses. Especially "My Deer Hunter" experiments with silent soundscapes with often simple sounds floating across the environment, generating the kind of dark atmosphere you witness in many great horror movies.

There's little on "The Always Open Mouth" to suggest this album was written by the same people as "Art Damage" two years ago, as even the first track to be releasd to the public ("Lycanthropy") bears no resemblance to the bands earlier work. Much of "The Always Open Mouth" is predominated by the use of sequencers, sound programming and effected guitars to sanction the dark industrial feel to it. As a fan of the band's earlier, straightforward and powerfully raw hardcore, it is at first hard to get used to the bands considerably more experimentalist side, but over time it becomes clear that the album is much more well crafted and more artistic than "Art Damage". Prepare for a timeconsuming beast, and don't expect to be taken under the wings of "The Always Open Mouth" on the first listen.


Download: My Deer Hunter, Mouth, A Brief Tutorial In Bachanalia
For the fans of: Botch, The Blood Brothers, Converge, The Fall Of Troy
Listen: Myspace, Purevolume

Release date 18.09.2006
Equal Vision
Provided by Target ApS

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