Review Summary: We needed deliverance, they gave us deliverance
To say From First To Last
were at a crossroads following Heroine
is, to put it lightly, a severe understatement; then-former lead vocalist now-turned EDM sellout Skrillex (Sonny Moore) had damaged his vocal cords to the point where he couldn't go on, session and touring bassist Wes Borland (yes, really) was too busy with Black Light Burns, their label had dropped them and they had virtually no money at all. They could have chosen to find a cheap imitator of Moore that would have arguably made them even worse than they were on their previous endeavors which ranged from mediocre ("Emily") to downright abysmal ("...And We All Have A Hell"), but fortunately for everyone guitarist and then-backing vocalist Matt Good took up vocal duties—and just like that, From First To Last's self-titled album is already a drastic improvement.
With Matt Good at the helm, From First To Last virtually wiped out a vast majority of their flaws as a band; there is a commendable improvement in the band's instrumentation and was arguably one of the top performances in the genre at the time of release, while Good has a much more tolerable voice and wider range than Moore ever did. Lead single "Worlds Away" and opener "Two As One" showcase an aggressive improvement in vocal work and hooks, while the electronic and indie-infused "Deliverance!" and acoustic closer "In Memoriam In Advance" show a willingness of the band to break out of the nest they had glued themselves into on previous albums.
Don't let the experimental claims fool you too much, though, because From First To Last
is in no way some game-changing masterpiece that will cause them to go down as one of the greats—for every "Two As One" we have a "Tick Tick Tomorrow"; while they're definitely not bad
by any means, the deeper cuts actually tend to suffer from the worst lyricism: "I'm just waiting for the future to swallow me whole, i'll show you all the things that you can't see" harken back to the same showcase of painful crapsterpieces that plagued the Moore days, and even "Deliverance!" and "Worlds Away" fall into overused cliches ("on and on and on and on") or facepalm-worthy lyrics ("Get real, get free, if you can live with yourself then the rest will proceed").
Surprisingly, the production and mixing actually aren't bad: all the instruments can be heard well, and producer Josh Abraham doesn't allow any annoying vocal effects used without purpose. It isn't the greatest job in the department, but for what From First To Last
is, it serves it's purpose quite well.
From First To Last
might not be a grand reinvention of a post-Sonny Moore FFTL, but even if all it did was remove him from the equation it would still be a solid album; fortunately, however, the band upped their game this time around on all fronts and it was certainly for the better. As of this writing, Sonny Moore is back in the band and his voice has drastically improved. If they stick to the style of this album and Throne To The Wolves
, they might be able to craft their new magnum opus; but as it currently stands, From First To Last
is currently the band at their best, and while it isn't game-changing, it's certainly a very fun and entertaining record. In short, they gave us what we needed the most at the time—deliverance.