Review Summary: Choked by the very chains that bind you
Is it just me, or does this year’s Imperial
make In Fear and Faith out to be a band that’s in a little too much debt? Here’s another crew that’s making the mix-and-match metalcore/post-hardcore stand, taking on the music industry in general and record labels alike, preaching to a tried and retried audience that’s, surprisingly, against all odds, still able to lend a ready ear to their pleas – I mean, that is, their music
. Yes, baffling isn’t it? No matter how many scream-to-clean breakdown-breakups – might as well throw in all the electronic, symphonic, and crunk mixes that the kids love to experiment around with these days as well - take the far right, circa the skaters’ half-pipe stage at Warped Tour, there’s always, always
someone - nay, actual thousands - that will embrace a new melodic metalcore/post-hardcore band with open arms. And yet many of us, despite the obvious explanation, still
wonder why so many bands like this, at least going by the sound of their music, take similar paths amongst and beside each other. Is it really so hard to figure out?
In all actuality, it’s really easy. You see, bands like In Fear and Faith were bound by the earlier work of their debtors the very instant they signed a deal with a record label – and, surprisingly, many are content in bondage. In Fear and Faith's debut full-length, Your World On Fire
, revealed a band in 2009 that was easily shackled and bound, quickly evidenced in just the work of their singers: Cody Anderson is as obnoxious in his harsh vocals as a screaming female cat is in its labor, and the cleans, by way of Scott Barnes, are the seemingly perfect, imperfect contrast to the prior – i.e. the exact, precise opposite of what you would want to hear after a chalkboard scraper from Anderson: a guy who croons melodically as if spelunking through his own nose. A season of touring – nay, not even a year - hasn’t done much to improve either singer’s performance, unfortunately. On Imperial
, the band’s sense of melody is drowned and flushed down the toilet by way of horrid vocal tones and poorly implemented transitions to and from each respective vocalist, sounding as if the two haven’t had all that much stage time together in the past year. This proves to really be a shame on closer inspection of the songs, actually, as second cut “Bones” and the primarily piano-led “Heavy Lies The Crown” are clear evidence that the band know how to write
a catchy tune; apparently, they just don’t know how to sing
one just yet.
The bills keep on piling up for In Fear and Death, and sadly, instrumentally the band are way in over their heads with unpaid debt. The band use these despicable, faux-feeling symphonics to fill in the many void spaces to be found on Imperial
, as they did on Your World On Fire
before it. To contextualize things, the cringe worthy strings can be likened to indie-rockers Modest Mouse
with an ever-increasing level of commercialism, Linkin Park
with a higher ballad count on their next album, and Cradle of Filth
, well, basically, with just more tumultuous garbage next time around. “Eleventwentyfour” climaxes the ruin of Imperial
: a pseudo-classical piano piece enters us into the repetitive racket of guitarists Ramin Niroomand and Noah Slifka on next track, “Afterthought” – oh boy, pun time – baking and frying in their monotonous chord progressions, all before being beat back into the background once Barnes takes the stage with his “I’ll be gone
” cleanly sung garbage - frankly, I’m not really sure if I’m relieved with the change in the singer's prominence in the mix or not. Now, I’m not one to sympathize with Blessthefall
, much less Asking Alexandria
, much, much
less Attack Attack!
, but something has to be said about this electronica metalcore/post-hardcore aping that In Fear and Faith are doing here on Imperial
. The results were mildly distracting to God-awful with those other bands; do you really want to know how bad it sounds on this album? I didn't think so.
Choked by the very chains that bind you – is this not what seems to have happened to In Fear and Faith? The band are lost in the midst of their own blender concoction; the contents of which are all but stolen from bigger, tougher dogs – and do you know what? The Californian sextet are puzzingly content with that, to pick and pull from whomever they choose for their sound: post-hardcore or metalcore, electronic or symphonic, horrible singer or more horrible singer. Unfortunately, however, In Fear and Faith just don’t have the tools to make a competent reiteration of their own for Imperial
. Anderson and Barnes oscillate between sub-par to horrible vocal performances; the guitarists play middle-of-the-breakdown, dime-a-dozen fare; and the symphonic and the electronic inclusions to the music sound suffocating, pretentiously annoying, and are certainly awkward in their placing. Mix-and-match metalcore has had better days; In Fear and Faith’s debtors have made better albums; and, honestly, it’s about time these guys got what’s been coming to them. Time to pay up, boys, and don't you dare give us another album like Imperial