Fear Before

Fear Before

Written by: PP on 05/12/2008 11:52:46

Fear Before used to be called Fear Before The March Of Flames for three full lengths, but for their fourth, the self-titled "Fear Before", they decided to cut their name short. "It gets so tiring repeating ‘Fear Before The March Of Flames’ over and over again to old lady gas station attendants in Nebraska" was the band's stated reason about three months back, which I think is a shame, because their full name was one of my favorite band names out there. Anyway, Fear Before have changed on every single album, going from the straight forward metalcore of their debut, to the slightly artsier, Botch obsessed "Art Damage", to the experimentalism on their previous album "The Always Open Mouth", which showcased a band finally discovering what their own unique sound should be. At least that's what I thought, but apparently I was wrong, considering how "Fear Before" takes the band in yet another direction. Remember how The Fall Of Troy changed from "Doppelgänger" to "Manipulator"? The steps Fear Before have taken here are pretty similar.

The experimentalism from "The Always Open Mouth" has been amplified, and it would now be impossible for a new listener to believe that this is the band that wrote "Art Damage" a few years back. The screaming has been dropped almost entirely in favor of the whiny croon that has always been characteristic to Fear Before. It's a style of singing that some consider terrible, but it fits to the desperate soundscape of the band. Screaming does occur in bits and pieces though, such as in the climax of "Get Your Life Together", where the song progresses into a piercing scream-session from the quiet beginning. The quiet, western-themed "Jabberwocky" sees Fear Before sounding surprisingly similar to "Versions"-era Poison The Well. "Tycho", on the other hand, is probably the biggest song in terms of soundscape that Fear Before has written. It's pretty catchy (on their scale) and echoes / resonates well as long as you're using a good set of headphones.

I realize I haven't been very good at describing exactly how "Fear Before" sounds and why it's good or bad, but that's because it's one of the most difficult albums I've had to review. On one hand, its Circa Survive-styled experimentalism alone has forced me to take in 20+ active listens, and on the other hand, it possesses the sound that's often referred to as simply 'scene', the slightly artsy, elitist feel that I'm sure you guys have felt in releases by bands like Alesana as well. If you were looking for the scene-core of the band's first two albums, you won't find it here, and even if you were looking for more of "The Always Open Mouth", you'll only hear it here in bits and pieces, cause overall the band has gone a little soft on us. Take it or leave it.


Download: Tycho, Everything's Not Shitty, Jabberwocky
For the fans of: Poison The Well, The Fall Of Troy, The Sound Of Animals Fighting
Listen: Myspace

Release date 28.10.2008
Equal Vision Records

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