Review Summary: Metalcore that isn't brutal?
Metalcore is a genre where brutality reigns supreme. In just about every niche of metalcore, bands seem to have a heavy emphasis on how hard their playing is and how brutal the riffs sound. We have christian metalcore, with bands like August Burns Red and ZAO. We have metallic metalcore, with bands like Botch and 7 Angels 7 Plagues. But there is also another not-so-well known spectrum of metalcore, a spectrum where bands don’t have a huge emphasis on brutality, but rather, the exact opposite. Bands here generally tend to have a much larger emphasis on melody. Bands such as Blindside and Codeseven have changed a lot of their metalcore sound into a poppier sound. But even then, there are bands like Life in Your Way and fordirelifesake, who keep the basic aspects of metalcore, except they scratch out brutality and replace it with melody. Instead of trying to gain their crowd through dissonance, they instead reel in their fan base using catchy and upbeat riffs.
Fordirelifesake are ferocious in this sense. The melodies presented throughout the entire album are stunning, upbeat, and catchy. The dual guitar interplay is quite a thing to hear, and it will grab your full attention. The guitars use a lot of higher riffing, and play at an extremely fast pace throughout the whole album. There is a few solos, but these are all in tasteful measure. Never does one part they play sound extremely out of place, or never does a solo become a solo for the sake of shredding. The guitar players show that they have obvious talent, but they show an even greater ability to control that talent, something that a lot of other guitarists can’t seem to do. The drumming throughout the album is at a more hardcore punk style and pace. Throughout the whole album, Justin Malek, the drummer, lays down the tempo and is the anchor of the band’s sound. While straying away from conventional metalcore style drumming, he still does incorporate some of the basic qualities, such as the double bass kicks. Despite this use of conservative drumming at times, he is also extremely talented, throwing in many fills and cymbal rolls throughout the entire album, but never getting ahead of himself either, knowing how to control his talent. That may be one of the single best qualities about this band; they don’t let their talent get in the way of their songwriting. A perfect example would be 3 minutes into track 7, “Falling For The Promise,” in which the guitar and drums constantly morph for 45 seconds or so between two separate riffs, not losing any ground every time they shift. The vocals of this album are pretty much the only thing that isn’t really different from any of fordirelifesake’s contemporaries. It’s your usual standard affair of throaty growls throughout, while having a backing vocalist there for some of the higher shrieks. They do seem to employ a lot more vocals being sung than others, but other than that, the vocals are nothing to get excited or worry about.
The production of this album also adds to the sound of fordirelifesake. I’m not sure if they did this, but they seemed to suck out a lot of the lower notes; in essence, the album doesn’t sound as thick as it can. I like to think that they take away the lower notes in a way to make their music seem less brutal, and make the focus of the record more on the guitars' intertwining melodies. However, the production can also get pretty thin at times, almost going to tin can quality sound, and that poses a problem with a band like fordirelifesake; they are so extremely technical, and like to throw in so many little licks that if you aren’t giving your full attention to the album you’ll miss out on them. The production also doesn’t help the fact that without the deep feeling, the bass player is harder to hear. You can hear him, and he’s doing his own thing away from the guitars, but the production has also almost effectively sucked out the bass. There is one more thing that would probably irk people about fordirelifesake, their lyrics. Most of their lyrics revolve around relationships ending, and not in a good way at all. The title of track 3, “The Perfect Way to Cut Myself,” can sum up the lyrics altogether. In no way can you turn this to make it a positive for fordirelifesake. It’s just really childish, especially since the lyrics are still this way even after three albums.
In the end, fordirelifesake is a band that you must give your upmost attention to, and one that if you listen to closely, you will be rewarded with a more than pleasurable listening experience. You’ll hear many nice little licks placed here and there and you’ll be able to see the gorgeous interplay between the guitarists, as well as the powerful qualities of the music. Believe me, the fact that they aren’t as heavy as other bands of the genre shouldn’t detract you from wanting to listen to them; heaviness doesn’t necessarily equate with quality. In fact, perhaps the lack of brutality is what makes the record as good as is it is.