Review Summary: Welcome to 2003 - you'll never leave!
So at what point does something stop being 'old-fashioned' and become 'retro'?
I can't possibly deny that the majority of In the Blink of an Eye
gave me pangs of recognition as I realised where the ideas were lifted from; but when the sources include Lostprophets, New Found Glory, and Killswitch Engage, can that be considered a good thing? Most people have forgotten about those bands, sure, but it hasn't been long enough for people to remember them fondly enough to want a revival, has it?
FACT probably deserve some degree of credit for managing to sound like so many bands at once. If you could time-travel back to 2003 and switch on Kerrang! or Scuzz (or the American and Japanese equivalents of those channels), FACT would probably sound at least a little like 90% of the acts you'd hear, whether it's Hundred Reasons, or Hell Is for Heroes, or A, or Jimmy Eat World, or Bowling for Soup, or InMe, or Ash, or NOFX, or Saves the Day. They're copying an entire scene - let's roughly sum it up as 'rock music immediately after everybody realized nu-metal was a load of arse' - rather than any specific band or genre, and that's more difficult than some people would credit.
Any sort of goodwill engendered by that, though, is tempered by knowledge of FACT's back catalogue. Their previous outing, a self-titled album released just last year, probably got a little bit too much praise for the way it blended genres, but it was certainly a very different beast to this, with plenty more in the way of diversity and invention. Some of the better tracks - "A Fact of Life" notably - suggested that they might have the potential to rival an act like Protest the Hero, while other tracks brought recent Manes material to mind. So it's baffling why exactly the band have scaled back their ambition so quickly - many fans will instinctively cry 'sellout', but even that doesn't make sense, because there's a much bigger audience out there for the music on FACT
than there is for the music on In the Blink of an Eye
. If it is a commercial move, it's either bewilderingly late, or Japanese rock music is almost a decade behind the rest of the world - the only concession to modern pop music here is the occasional, awkward blasts of autotune. If it's an artistic one, it's got to be considered a failure.
If you're a really big fan of the sound FACT are taking from, and some portion of your taste in music is still stuck in 2003, then there's no doubt that you'll find much about this album to enjoy. It should also probably be noted that there's likely to be dozens of bands that sound like this in 2020, and they'll likely be successful and, for a while at least, acclaimed; but to claim that as some sort of victory for FACT would be to employ some of the most unhinged mental acrobatics imaginable in music criticism. The reality is that, for all the energy this album offers, it backs it up with precious little imagination or substance. They're good at what they do, and they deserve some amount of praise for that, but does anybody really want to hear it in 2010?