Review Summary: From A Second Story Window have come out with a decent album that mixes the majority of metal/hardcore's interesting aspects. Of course, that means there are breakdowns, but don't let that put you off. Buy it for the manic vocal performance alone.
From A Second Story Window is quite an unrelenting musical experience. To those of you who know what I mean, you will understand that the monstrous sound that they have the ability to create is destructive to say the least. Vocals jump from low to high and just about everywhere in between, with the overall pace and ferocity of the music never letting up. Not One Word Has Been Omitted (also known as The Cassandra Complex EP) is a collection of five songs that perfectly demonstrates what the band is all about. I suppose the term deathcore could be used (but let's be serious, who uses that anyway) and possible comparisons could be made to bands such as The Acacia Strain and perhaps more closely, the lesser known Dance Club Massacre.
The album kicks off with The Challenge of Caring. One of the firsts things that hits you in the face with FASSW is the uncanny knack that Will Jackson has for being able to pull of seemingly any type of vocals. The death metal growls are very guttural and very good and everything in a higher register is of equal excellence. His high voice is particularly impressive and will grate at your ears in a frightening manner. Guitar riffs bounce from complex rhythmic chugging (and a few of your dreaded "jun-wee" riffs) and the odd technical motif that pops up in the song a few times. In terms of the rhythm section, the bass isn't heard all that clearly but it is evident that it is in the mix, giving a thick low end and ensuring your eardrums are punished to the max. The drumming is nothing outstanding - double bass patterns are used in an interesting manner and there is a definite level of technicality to the drumming that would take some time to master. Fills are placed here and there to add variation and interest and they're always tasteful, never overblown. Blastbeats are also here, maybe not in abundance but there's enough to please the most insane of metalheads out there.
One of the highlights of the album comes in the form of the popular I Tried Voodoo Once... After a nice drum fill to open things up, a wave of sound, culminating in a mass of pounding instruments and frantic shrieks comes at you with all guns blazing. One thing that separates this band from others of a similar sound is perhaps the fact that even though their songs are relatively lengthy, sections are never overused and songs don't become tiresome. I Tried Voodoo Once... has a very memorable and serene breakdown section, with clean guitar and those kind of epic, low-in-the-mix screamed vocals ( I don't know how else to describe them really). However, the chaotic mess of off-kilter rhythms and dissonant guitar soon makes itself known again just before the end of the song.
I would be lying if I said the rest of the album was startlingly different to the first two tracks. But what I can say is that the band do have a formula for writing good (dare I say it?) deathcore. This isn't like the technical mix of death metal and metalcore more akin to the likes of say, Animosity. FASSW is undoubtedly more simplistic, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Nevertheless, the sound created is punishing to say the least. And Will Jackson is a very talented and able vocalist. Not One Word Has Been Omitted is an interesting ride to say the least - but if you're a fan of neverending onslaughts of brutality and breakdowns with a hint of melody and technicality here and there, then this may well be worth a shot.
I Tried Voodoo Once...