Review Summary: Melodic metalcore from Minnesota
The modern day metalcore scene is littered with so many copycats and rip-offs that it resembles a Las Vegas Elvis impersonation contest. Bands like Attack! Attack!, Within, and The Devil Wears Prada are basically re-hashed versions of (better) bands that came before them. These bands try to add little things to give them originality, like Attack! Attack!'s techno synth and auto-tune vocals, but usually these additions end up destroying whatever chance the band had to make comprehendible music. Every once in a while a band comes along and manages to one up other bands in the genre, but sadly For All Those Sleeping does not achieve this mark.
A local band from my home state of Minnesota, For All Those Sleeping is part of the local scene of UnderOath rip off bands. The band's that combine harsh and clean vocals with melodic guitars and the occasional breakdown thrown in for something different. Having had the chance to observe this band do their trade multiple times at the venue I worked at, I felt that I would review their debut EP as I obtained a free copy from the band members.
The first thing I noticed when I popped this EP into my car stereo was the clean vocals on Hands So Red on a Face So Pale. I was surprised because I had just watched them in concert and could not recall any clean vocals when they played the song live. This disappointed me a bit because without the clean vocals For All Those Sleeping was a decent metal band, whereas the clean vocals, which are quite whiny, turned them into just another UO/TDWP copycat. The production was also a negative against this band. Obviously for a first EP the production is quite shaky and suffers from a weak drum sound, and mixing problems. Whenever the vocalist does any sort of low growl, the vocals drop low in the mix and thus become challenging to hear above the other instruments. This becomes irritating as you hear clean and high harsh vocals but then there's a drop when the growls start. This is a picky negative against them because if they ever get signed the production will improve, but I felt it was warranted.
Musically For All Those Sleeping is nothing special. They play your standard melodic metalcore with the occasional catchy riff or nice drum fill thrown in. Merge the melody of UnderOath and the whiny clean vocals and melodic riffs of TDWP and you have For All Those Sleeping. Each song has its memorable parts, but in the end it all seems to mesh together into a mess of re-hashed riffs and fills.
So you may be asking yourself if there is ANYTHING that makes this band worth listening to? Yes there is; not much, but there is some redeeming qualities that gives For All Those Sleeping the potential to survive in the metalcore scene. Their vocalist is obviously the most talented member of the band and as his range runs from harsh high screams to low growls, I found myself focusing on the vocals as the music became a backdrop. If they were to improve their musicianship and add some originality, they could become a quality band in the world of metalcore.
Overall this EP gets a 2 because the vocals are good enough to redeem the rest of the band's faults, but the production hurts the overall quality of the band's EP. For All Those Sleeping is a band that will either become a well known name in metalcore, or will fizzle out of existence like so many others before them. It is all up to them.