Review Summary: Give them another chance.
It's tough to see a good band fall, especially if it's a slow decline. Such is the case for Before Their Eyes, a band that started pretty strong and sadly fell pretty fast. Before Their Eyes
was a fantastic start to a career and probably one of the strongest debuts in the genre, but follow up TDOMD fell apart due to heavily corrected vocals and a good amount of filler. Junior effot Untouchable
was even worse, bragging only four good songs and including way too much pop material. Nick Moore (vocalist and band founder) even realized he had a lot of work to do if the band were to continue, and yet again, BTE experienced a lineup change before their next record. With the replacement of a rythm guitarist/harsh vocalist, did the band improve?
is sure better than the preceding record and TDOMD,but still not quite up to par with the self-titled bruiser. Thankfully, Moore is no longer bogged down by the pitch correction that plagued the groupn on the previos efforts. Also, Nick is back on harsh vocals, channeling a deep growl and an occasional high scream that complements the album well. Both guitarists have also seriously improved, finally reaching the chemistry found on Before Their Eyes
, despite the fact that neither original guitarist is present. No, there aren't any solos, but there are some sweet leads from Jordan Disorbo undercutted by groovy, heavy riffs from Brandon Rosiar, Landon's replacement. Jarrett Hottman (drummer) truly upped his game as well, oftentimes carrying weaker parts of the album on his back. As per usual for BTE and the genre in general, bass guitar is totally absent.
For twelve tracks, not every track is a standout. However, it is the boys' longest effort to date, so cut them a little slack. Opening track "Lies" roars in with aggressive guitar fury and a deep, lion-like growl, and doesn't lose it's pace at all. It's clear just from this track that BTE is much much heavier this time around, and much better for it. However, though this track is edgy, it's not the hardest BTE gets. Tracks "Dream" and "Find" are extremely strong follow-ups to "Lies" that sound similar without getting samey or boring. "Redemption" comes in mid album, and is one of the heaviest songs BTE has released, featuring tons of nice guitar tricks (namely pinch harmonics) and aggressively released vocals. After skipping some filler, we find "Surrender", another extremely heavy song. This is actually the first time the guitarists have tuned to Drop B, so metal-loving guitarists should get a kick out of this song. Both "Backstabber" and "Faith" reach back to the beginning of the album, mixing melody with heaviness. "Backstabber" has some cool vocal effects that don't get annoying, while "Faith" again carries some killer guitar chemistry. Final track "Alive" has a passionate, heroic chorus, and wouldn't have as much of an arena feel if it wasn't for Hottman.
As for the filler, "Revenge" and "Revival" are both pretty boring. Personally, I've listened to this album a few times, and I don't remember "Revenge" at all. "Revival" is extremely repetitive and just gets old quickly. Ballad "Everything" tries hard to be lasting and passionate, but pales in comparison to "This Is Redemption, This Is Our Lives Washed Clean". Also, it's placement before one of the album's best songs doesn't quite do it justice. Painfully absent are the band's successful attempts at more radio-friendly material. Though it only worked twice ("You Talk A Good Game" and "Why 6 Is Afraid Of 7"), these potent tracks have been fairly missed since the first album.
Lyrically, BTE are better off than the previous two attempts, but still not near as personal and heartfelt as the self-titled. It's a slightly generic delivery, as lyrics about taking down traitors and hypocrites sound extremely similar to anything ADTR has released. "Alive" tries to be a heartfelt arena rock song, but fails and sounds extremely cheesy. It's not the best the band has been lyrically, but it could be worse.
After the disaster that was Untouchable
, it was easy to lose faith in BTE. And though Redemption
is far from perfect, the standouts are good enough to warrant a purchase and decent consideration of the band's future material. BTE redeemed themselves, so give them another chance.