Review Summary: Dance.Pretend.Forget.Defend should be a melodic metalcore classic. Unfortunately, it'll probably fade into (or remain in) obscurity.
Fordirelifesake aren't that metalcore band that will hit you like a ton of bricks. They're not that totally brotastic band that chugs more Guinness than an Irishman on St. Patty's day. They're not always faster than the Flash. They do not have more breakdowns than that psychotic chick you know. They don't even dehydrate their singer and record him choking into the microphone for the length of an album.
Fordirelifesake are, however, masters of melody, structure, and innovation; and the album they provide here is nothing short of a carefully refined work of art. Dance.Pretend.Forget.Defend opens with, perhaps one of the catchiest hooks an album could hope for in "Exhale." Boasting a quiet drum fill followed by bright, melodic riffing, just the slightest suggestion of guiro, and – egads! - an audible, borderline funky bass line! The drum beat picks up on the following track, "Recover," when the album really starts to move into its core ebb and flow. It launches itself around quite a bit, though never without a generally smooth transition, making space for pieces which function solely to move the album comfortably from one track to another.
However, that’s not to say the album can’t be rather bombastic at times. Some tracks launch off immediately and aggressively after soft interludes and the album as a whole varies greatly. From drum-driven breakdowns to quiet, but always melodic guitar interludes, intros, and outros, to powerful, charging tracks like "Dependant on Affection" and "Ammunition for your Conversation," Dance.Pretend.Forget.Defend creates a diverse album with a signature sound.
To further complicate the picture, several tracks feature techno-esque beats either originally engineered or sampled from the start of the same track they're featured in. This isn't to say that Dance.Pretend.Forget.Defend excessively features techno stylings, though it is to say that they are there for a good few minutes of the record’s runtime. And they're fantastic, interesting, and often frantic.
The overwhelming majority of this music is energetic, bordering on poppy, ear-catching, and just plain enjoyable. Furthermore, the diversity on this album makes it hard to turn off in just about every situation. It creates an album that’s sort of a jack of all trades and a master of none. What does that mean? Well, it means there’s no clear focus on the album, but the melodic chaos of the sound seems to be what Fordirelifesake were aiming for. With a little extra refinement, this could easily have been be the flagship for all melodic metalcore, which makes it a shame that the band is no longer around.