Review Summary: Is it hugely experimental? No. Is the musicianship insane? Not really. Is this an enjoyable album from a band that has some honest potential? Yes, it is.
Most people would listen to a few songs off of this album and simply categorize it as a pretty standard release from a pretty standard progressive metalcore band, and for the most part those people would be right. All the ingredients for the aforementioned label are present; the pounding double bass, the chugging riffs and intermingling guitar lines, the mixing of harsh and clean vocals, and so on so forth. However, if you really listen, you just might be able to catch a glimpse of what FASSW is truly capable of doing, which is melting faces.
Most of the songs are pretty standard fare for the genre that they will inevitably be thrown into, and they tend to come off as a less technical parallel of something like All That Remains, but that's just my opinion. Now don't jump all over me with flaming comments if you feel ATR is superior, as it was just my attempt at drawing a parallel to a more widely known band.
Now that being said, there is nothing on this album that I would consider to be lacking. However, there is also nothing that I would consider to be spectacular either. In terms of musicianship, they aren't necessarily on par with bands such as Protest The Hero or Between The Buried And Me. The guitars stick mainly to the standard chugging palm mutes and open power chords through most of the album, but every now and again they do throw in some interesting sounding chords and melody lines. The drums are probably the most impressive element of the album, and its nice to see a drummer that approaches the music with an attitude other than "how fast can i move my feet at this tempo?" There are a few speedy passages for those of you that can't take your metal without the 500 bpm double bass though so don't be discouraged. The vocalist handles everything from clean vocals, raspy screams, throaty growls, and of course the inevitable death metal piggy squeal (hope that didn't offend anybody), and he pulls everything off very well. Even though there are no stand out instruments in the album, everything is handled very well and the band exhibits a cohesiveness that's hard to come by in most metal nowadays.
As far as songs go, you have your basic garden variety metalcore songs, you slower "ballad" songs, and your fast paced bordering on melo-death songs. The album's opener, Most Of Us Are Normal, features no screaming and the instrumentation has been stripped down, making it the softest song on the album. The guitars, for the most part, provide and atmosphere for the vocals instead of just busting out the riffs. Heavier songs, like Monumental Treason and Severed Heads Open Minds, (which includes some of the albums very few blast-beat sections), are very well executed, but they tend to get monotonous after repeated listens. Which brings me to the biggest flaw of the album, variety. Even though the band attempts to break monotony by using the heavy/soft motif, things do start to blend together after a few listens, and at times it may seem like the slower and softer sections come off as a bit contrived.
All things considered, this album lacks the one thing that most "metalcore" releases lack, which would be variety in songs. Even though there are no real choruses and most of the snogs have little structure as far as verse-chorus-verse, it still manages to get itself into a rut somehow.
-All of the instruments play off of each other very nicely, even if they don't exhibit amazing musicianship
-The vocals are top notch for the most part
-The drumming more than makes up for the average guitar
-As usual with this genre, tends to get a little bland after a few listens
-The band's music might not be complex enough for fans of overly technical metal
-As usual, the bass is very inaudible throughout the record