Hyped genres suffer from severe 'incest' so to say. Succesful bands are copied to an extend where the copy gets so bad and uninspired you start to dislike the genre. Metalcore has become such a genre. What to do in such a case when you're a band that is somewhere at the border of said genre? Maybe change the direction to something different? Maybe.That is what Fear my Thoughts did with their current album. When I first had this CD in my hands, the sticker on the front side of the case stated "The new melodic death metal hope" or something like that. I checked it out, just because I enjoyed the precessor for quite a while. But the term 'Death Metal' made me suspicious. I'm not a Metal-head at all, not into any Metal bands like Metallica, Maiden or what do I know.
The more I was suprised what is presented here, and that I really like it. The scheme of the former album is taken further here: Somewhat of a more Metal than -core influenced version of Metalcore, with an added keyboard. The sound is much more metal like, and the end product has a slight touch of Children of Bodom here and there (mainly because of the keyboard). The keyboard is more used to accent certain parts,and not as much used as for example in Children of Bodom.
The musical focus is clearly the guitar work and the drumming (like most productions that go into the slight genre direction Metalcore seem to have no bass. At all. Same here, it's almost never noticable....). The latter is quite fast, and the double bass passages support the overall speed of the songs well. The melodic leads played by the guitar often bring a 'cheer up' or epic moment into the rather hard songs, often in combination with keyboard-support.
My favoriite example for this approach is the song "In the hourglass"
. The song starts out with a more or less slow double guitar intro, accompanied by some random grunting screams. After a turn to double bass drumming and a small interlude, the song enters the verse part. Played stakkato like (only two different chords), with a small meldodic mini chorus. The song goes on for a while, until after about 3 minutes suddenly a melodic guitar solo-like part kicks in, accompanied by slight string arrangements in the back (played with the keyboard of course). For a moment, the mood of the song is completely changed. This gives quite some songs a very interesting twist, as they change almost completely from one moment to another (only speaking of the mood of the song).
The vocals are very good and fitting as well. I'm kind of remembered of the old Killswitch Engage singer in terms of vocal range. You get stuff served like deep gruntling screaming, a quick high pitched scream in between and on some songs good melodic singing. But most of the time it's the screaming and shouting. Very similar to Heaven Shall Burn IMO.
Not everything is all good though, and this record has some flaws as well. For me that are mainly songs, that sometimes seem to drag on and on without a clear ending. "Sadist Hour" is one example, sometimes I get the feeling the song never ends. A turn down for some might be the monotonous musical work. You don't get a huge and broad variation here. What the band does, is done good. But if you look for changing and stuff rich of variable sounds, you might want to consider looking somewhere else. I do not want to state that you have next to no variations here. The keyboard elements, and some ineteresting samples (like a Darth Vader like sample telling about the "power of the dark side" on 'The Fighting'
) provide some changes, as well as the quite slow and quiet ending "Trying to feel..."
. But the basic sound of the songs is the same most of the time. Maybe even a bit stereotypical for bands near the Metalcore spectrum (very comparable to Heaven Shall Burn or Caliban for example).
Nevertheless, I really like this one. A lot better than their album "The great Collapse"
. The introduction of keyboard elements is nothing really new and allover exciting in the genre, but it fits really well into the overall mix of the record. The guitar parts are really fun to listen to, as well as the drumming, but that the bass is competely drowned 98% of the time sucks monkey balls. Well, you can't have everything... :(
A sparkling 4/5 from me. :thumb:
Be sure to check out the songs the band provides on their homepage/MySpace for a quick and uncomplicated checkout! (URL in the band bio)