I Set My Friends On Fire
Astral Rejection


1.0
awful

Review

by Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (68 Reviews)
June 21st, 2011 | 35 replies | 14,176 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The joke's over

Back in 2006, two scene kids from Florida thought that it would be hilarious to make a metalcore cover of Soulja Boy’s “Crank That.” The song blew up and, in an extremely improbable chain of events, landed them a record deal at Epitaph. These kids, Matt Mehana and the since departed Nabil Moo, were a shock to the system. While many casual metalcore fans admit that part of the appeal of the genre is how silly it is, I Set My Friends on Fire (ISMFOF) were the first band to openly mock the genre. Complete with all the clichés- jokey song titles, occasional abuse of the synthesizer, autotuned hooks- their debut album You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter was enjoyable in the same way that Adam West-era Batman is. It was passable due to its sheer campiness. On Astral Rejection, there is no such fun to be found and the finished product reflects that in terms of content and quality.

It’s impossible to accuse ISMFOF of lacking creativity. If anything, they’re too creative for their own good. Experimenting with everything from power ballads (the first part of Astral Rejection) to short dubstep sequences (My Paralyzed Brother Taps His Foot…), it’s impossible of accusing Astral Rejection of lacking initiative. Unfortunately, that’s one of the few compliments that one can pay this album. The other side of the coin with trying out so many things is that nothing stands out as exceptional or, in ISMFOF’s case, very good at all. The dubstep and 8-bit sound bad and really out of place; this is best seen on “Infinite Suck,” where an 8-bit sequence is played in sequence with a chugging guitar riff. This genre melding by creative mastermind Chris Lent, formerly of From First to Last, rarely works and shows that ambition is good but sometimes it’s probably a good thing to take yourself less seriously. The music generally ranges from ‘bad’ to ‘abysmal.’ and there is exactly one good musical section on the album: the 8-bit and drums sequence on Narcissismfof. The rest of the music could conceivably be an Attack Attack! outtakes reel, with the keys and guitars getting nearly equal attention in the mix. To make matters worse, the music rarely supports the already weak vocals.

The clean vocals, which had the perfect level of autotune on their last album, now alter Mehana’s voice to T-Pain levels. To be fair, it’s Mehana’s first time trying his hand at clean vocals but not even autotune can cover up his apparent tone deafness. This is disappointing, because the clean vocals were what made their first album enjoyable. It’s also kind of sad because it’s obvious that Mehana is trying his best to make up for the loss of Nabil Moo but fails miserably. Meanwhile, Mehana’s harsh vocals have become less listenable. The screams on the album sound a lot like those found on “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beerholder,” from You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter. The lyrics, which were decently funny on their previous album, are almost entirely unintelligible. Mehana almost seems like he’s trying too hard to scream well. This has the opposite effect, as his highs have gotten pitchier and the lows transcend guttural into a territory that’s impossible to describe. The vocal performance can be summed up as dismal.

The humor element, the one that made the band famous in the first place, has been wiped clean. There are no shouts of “What the ***!” to begin songs like there were in the past and the lyrics, the ones that you can understand, don’t tackle humorous topics like they did in the past. The creative wordplay has been replaced with Mehana’s apparent need to find polysyllabic words and insert them into his choruses whenever possible. Even the song titles have lost their flair in favor of being edgy. While listening to the album, it’s impossible not to wonder why in the world they decided to get so much more serious. The frat party vibe of You Can’t Spell Slaughter… has been replaced with one of an overzealous student who has taken too many classes; he’s weighed down by so much work that he can’t have a good time doing it.

Frankly, this album really disappointed me. I always had a soft spot for ISMFOF’s humor and occasionally cool breakdown or catchy hook. None of these elements are found on Astral Rejection. It’s merely an amalgamation of generic guitar, bad vocals and strange programming. Lent’s attempt at creativity and variation fails overall and pales in compatison to Moo, who was plenty creative and actually understood how music should sound. This album is the exact opposite of what I would have expected after Mehana’s work with comedy group Smosh and serves as evidence that thinking outside the box is good, but venturing too far can be a giant misstep.



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user ratings (117)
Chart.
2.2
poor
other reviews of this album
MadMikeLove (2.5)
Not satisfyingly enough of what made ISMFOF, ISMFOF....

Luigi L. (4)
It's in no way a classic, but Astral Rejection still stands out as a welcome addition to the genre....


Comments:Add a Comment 
FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2011



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

This is the worst thing that I've heard all year. It's pushing a 1 but at least they actually tried this time.

DinoX
June 21st 2011



3582 Comments


Venturing too far can be a giant Hxc misstep

Spluger
June 21st 2011



1124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's sad how terrible this is considering the fact that I REALLY loved their first album. I like the first track & the demo of Excite Dyke but the new version is just AWFUL.

Digging: Ceremony (USA-CA) - Violence Violence

Bassist540
June 21st 2011



373 Comments


Good pan. This album makes me want to chop off my ears and microwave them

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2011



49807 Comments


What are they smoking at Epitaph lately?

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

FearThyEvil
June 21st 2011



12287 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

But they confirmed BRUTAL BREAKDOWNS. This should be your aoty.

8bitlife
June 21st 2011



2 Comments


I just got my copy of Astral Rejection that I preordered and I love it. It did sound a little different from what they normally do, but it got better and better each time I listened to it. I think people who have given negative reviews haven't given it a chance and went in close minded. Listen to it a few times with an open mind and you'll love it like me. So far it's been the highlight of my summer!


sspedding
June 21st 2011



4751 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

heard one of the songs off this, sounded nearly as bad as crunkcore.

Hotsos120
June 21st 2011



1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As for me, I have loved ISMFOF since the beginning but I always hated their Crank That cover. They're my favorite band too! I did enjoy this album a lot actually, I'd even say it was worth the prolonged wait. I do miss Nabil Moo, he was truly talented but Chris Lent brings a new sound that I also enjoy. I do wish Moo was still in the band though. I actually enjoyed your mostly negative review and I actually agree with that Astral Rejection wasn't as good as "Slaughter", but I still loved this album. If you have only listened to this album's songs once please listen another time or two, it really grows on you quick. That goes for everyone.

Spec
June 21st 2011



27062 Comments


This is the worst thing that I've heard all year. It's pushing a 1 but at least they actually tried this time.

It's the fact that they tried that makes this so bad.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2011



7144 Comments


Great review. Make sure to keep it coming - it's the only way to improve.

(that, and surgically implanting Adam Downer's brain into your head)

TheSadLittleDinosaur
June 21st 2011



76 Comments


Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck WHY GODDAMMIT WHY

This album almost gave me an aneurysm...

HenchmanOfSanta
June 21st 2011



1853 Comments


I Set My Poop on Fire and leave it on this band's doorstep

This is the strongest review of yours that I've read, Nate.

Redman54
June 21st 2011



96 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I reckon it is crazy mindless fun, particularly Infinite Suck, Astral Rejection and Life Hertz, if you into this expecting the bizzare you might have a good time, it does take a while to grow on you and I can understand why some people would hate this but I think it's great, although I do miss Nabil

FilupLees
June 21st 2011



344 Comments


"What are they smoking at Epitaph lately?"

I think they have been smoking their money, and realized they wanted some more.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2011



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

@ spec that's very true. I might bump this down to a one. This is basically impossible to listen to.
thanks Travis. Taking Expos seems to have payed off.

Bassist540
June 22nd 2011



373 Comments


"But they confirmed BRUTAL BREAKDOWNS."

LOL

ctaxxxx
June 22nd 2011



222 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Well THIS was disappointing. What happened to all the good shit that was in the first album?

FearThyEvil
June 22nd 2011



12287 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Well THIS was disappointing. What happened to all the good shit that was in the first album?

Their was good shit on the first album?

ctaxxxx
June 24th 2011



222 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

If you don't take it seriously, yeah. Was a lot more catchy or the very least enjoyable than this one.



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