Review Summary: What the hell is in the water in the land down under?!
Australia. A land known for its vast outback, the unique animals within it, and now apparently metal? Yes!!!! In recent years, there have been a number of metal bands from this country who have been gaining a vast amount of fame in a short amount of time. For All Eternity may be the next ones on the list to make it big. After a release like their debut here, Beyond The Gates, it would be no surprise.
There are some who have already dismissed the genre of metalcore and turn a blind eye to the new bands that come onto the scene. Unfortunately for those that do, they will be missing out on what is a pretty solid record. Now let me clarify that like most records of its kind, Beyond The Gates does not add anything new to the genre nor will it change the minds of those who do not like this genre. However, this does not mean that the record is not a good and enjoyable one to listen to because it is exactly that. In addition, this band is very open about their Christianity, so do not be surprised at some of the lyrics. They do not try to cram the word of God down the listener’s throat, but instead have taken an interesting approach. The concept of the album is the story of a man who begins broken, lost, and far from his faith. As the album progresses, so does he toward God. Beginning with “Born” and ending with “Victory”, eventually he accepts Jesus as his savior as told in the lyrics of the latter song.
The album begins with a short introduction entitled "Born" which features some nice ambient vocals and leads very nicely into the next track. Within about only 20 seconds of the next track "Vacant Room", a sort of resemblance to fellow American Christian band August Burns Red can be seen in the form of a kind of half chug accompanied by some less generic guitar work over it. This is basically the format throughout the whole album. However, this does not mean every song sounds the same. Every song has the power both instrumentally and lyrically for that matter to stand on its own. The fact that they avoid turning the album into just a chug fest and have some variety in the riffs shows maturity in an early band and that they actually want to make music with meaning. While the drumming throughout the album does set the pace nicely, it never quite shines as much as it could. The lead vocals, while not astounding or varying much still fit with everything else on the album very well. Many that are not fans of clean vocals in general will argue and say that they tend to get whiny and are overused, but in my opinion the cleans are executed to a level that adds to the songs and does not take anything away. In trying to compare them, the closest I could come up with was Erra. Not only do the cleans sound similar, but there are cleans in many of the choruses, and sometimes they overlap with the harsh vocals like in said band’s songs. This solid mixture of clean and harsh vocals makes up for the lack in vocal variety that the lead tends to show more often than not. Possibly the biggest surprise on this album are the chills you may receive from the title track "Beyond The Gates”. The song features nothing but clean vocals and a piano, and is absolutely beautiful in both execution and lyricism. However, many will dismiss this song immediately due to its very Christian lyrical content. Nevertheless, the fact that For All Eternity can make such a beautiful arrangement tells me that they are not afraid to go out on a limb and experiment a bit. I hope this is a sign that we will continue to see this band grow and progress on future efforts.
While nothing groundbreaking lays Beyond the Gates (see what I did there), once again the land down under has presented us another solid record from what looks to be a very promising band with a lot of potential. Many of my favorite bands come from here, and now For All Eternity has made that list as well. Regardless of religious views, this album is one you must listen to, as it is one of the best I have heard so far this year. While many may consider metalcore a dead genre, thanks to For All Eternity there is now a breath of life within.