Review Summary: Even though stripped away of all experimentation explored on the bands previous album, their eponymous album still stands as a worthy addition to the bands discography.Fear Before The March Of Flames
sure took a drastic change after releasing arguably one of the most interesting, atmospheric, and intense albums within the post hardcore genre. They stripped off part of their name and with that, stripped off a lot of what made their last album, The Always Open Mouth
, so interesting. Whereas that album had set a haunting tone that hung over each song with bouts of intense fury flaring up making each song memorable and unique, Fear Before’s eponymous release seems content in being a rather dry album by comparison and ultimately cant delve as deeply into emotions as well as they could before. Is it fair to judge the album when compared to their previous work though? As a whole the album has moments of brilliance and still manages to linger on your mind.
One of the most obvious changes you immediately pick up on is that a lot of the lyrics seem to come up a bit…bizarre to the point of being absurd. It seems the band’s main lyricist took a backseat and in fact only wrote two out of the ten songs on the album and it’s very obvious. When you hear “I think I thought about who is I was
” it’s hard to take seriously and detracts from everything else going on in the song. However, there are still lines that even manage to reach the crazed lyricism found on The Always Open Mouth. Some haunting delusions, (There are things, there are creatures about with big hands and cavernous mouths. There are creatures and they’re out to get me
.) to downright gruesome (So a broken spirited man with nowhere to go, tried to shoot himself dead but the bullet swung low. Ripped out his teeth and part of his tongue, tried to do it again but couldn’t pick up the gun
)these lyrics help set a dark tone that sets the album at a very high point but ultimately makes it feel a bit inconsistent as a whole. A lot of the songs almost have a sense of optimism, which is shocking considering Fear Before is Fear Before, and while that isn’t necessarily bad, they don’t really impact you in the way the album’s highlight,Jabberwocky
Even lacking the amount of experimentation the band’s previous album had, instrumentally it all holds together quite well. Though riffs aren’t as bombastic but they flow well with the vocals and help keep songs from going stale. In fact, every song seems to transition perfectly from buildup, bridge, crescendo, and everything in between. Very few songs seem to follow a set mood and manages to keep you engaged. Vocally, the album tends to be almost comprised of cleans and although they’re terrific, it does feel the songs don’t have much bite. There are instances of hard hitting riffs and harsh shrieks, but they’re a bit far in between everything else to really have any lasting impact as they’re gone before it gets really exciting.
Fear Before is not as good as The Always Open Mouth and has some points where the album is almost embarrassing to listen to, but the album has a solid structure built on a foundation the band has laid since their debut. The album has brilliant moments even if they stripped away most of what worked for them in the past. The band changed their sound like they always tend to do and it stands as an interesting album worthy of being a part of the band’s discography.