Review Summary: ForeverAtLast improve ten-fold on their debut full-length album.
There's always something appealing about following an artist throughout their career and seeing them develop and progress. Seeing an artist make their journey through the music world and developing a sound as well as a following is a special sort of attachment, one that makes the music that much sweeter. That's how I feel about ForeverAtLast, a five-piece Hardcore band from Indiana.
I first saw this band at Cornerstone Festival back in 2009, and their blend of Hardcore mixed with Punk caught my ear and I picked up their EP, entitled Welcome To Lost Cause Population, Zero
. I generally enjoyed this release, which had some catchy songs, such as “File_Save As”, and “These Heavenly Lights”, but also suffered from poor production and slightly generic songwriting. Even with these faults , ForeverAtLast displayed potential to break out from their generic sound, and this is exactly what they do on their debut full-length, February To February
Although the band keeps their Hardcore sound at heart, there is a much more Punk influenced drive on this album, and the album as a whole is much more toned down then their EP, which is nothing but a good thing for them. Songs like “The Manipulator” and “A Crow That Scares” keep their Hardcore roots intact, but they break new ground in other places on the album. “Making Waves” almost has an Alt-Rock style sound, with driving guitars being offset by clean singing from the vocalist, and “Songbird” takes the Post-Rock formula of building to a climax and shortens it up into a 7 minute song, allowing for a nice ebb and flow that pushes and pushes until it breaks at the 6:25 mark into more Hardcore territory. These influxes of new styles are refreshing, as it keeps the Hardcore moments from sounding stale and overwhelming the album, and the soft/hard musical and vocal dynamics found within February To February
easily allow for multiple listens.
The vocals carry over their excellence from the EP, with the growls sounding even more ferocious, and the singing being smoother and more melodic then before. Backing the vocals is a band which has stepped up the songwriting immensely, utilizing riffs and melodies instead of falling back on to the typical breakdown, and this makes a world of difference in their sound. The drums are solid, as they keep the music flowing from song to song, and never over-utilize the double bass sound, instead making it's use that much more impacting. Musically the band is developing nicely, and although there is room for improvement in the songwriting department (as there is for every band), the difference between the Welcome To Lost Cause
EP and February To February
is like night and day.
Even with this album being a tenfold leap over their first EP, there are a still a few things that keep this from being a classic. Sometimes the Hardcore/Punk/Alt Rock mix can be a little awkward. The growled vocals at the end of “Songbird”, while adding to the intensity of the build, come off as slightly unnecessary as the song progressed that far just fine without them. “Rabbi” suffers from off-putting vocal placement at the beginning and a pseudo-riff breakdown right after, and just seems throughout the whole song that the vocals are slightly behind the instruments speed. The production of the album could also use a bit of tweaking in my opinion, as the vocals seem to be a tad too high in the mix, and the drums should be pushed higher, being almost inaudible at points, (although this may be amended by quality speakers) but this could just be my own peculiar mixing preferences.
With February To February
, ForeverAtLast has jumped up a step in every dimension from their last EP. Combining Hardcore moments with catchy Punk elements create an interesting dynamic that becomes an engaging listen. Although there is room for improvement, it is exciting to see where the band to go from here.