Fear Before the March of Flames "The Always Open Mouth" CDPosted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2006 @ 9:49am » permalink
Holy shit, I love it when something like this happens, though it's rare. But Fear Before the March of Flames may have just placed themselves within the "Most Improved Band of All Time" category. I very specifically remember that I practically hated their debut CD a few years ago, and I got a few angry emails regarding a couple of lines from my review of said debut, such as, "I am sick of listening to/watching a bunch of hipster fucking losers with bad haircuts and tight clothes squirm around like Mick Jagger in withdrawal screaming and squawking like fucking chickens," and, "the musicians in this band should seriously consider beating their singer to the ground with no remorse should he refuse to can the squealing." Hey, give me a break, it was an annoying CD, alright? I didn't mean they should literally beat the guy!
But thankfully none of that matters anymore. Their second record was a minor improvement, and "The Always Open Mouth" (Equal Vision Records) proves that the third time's a fucking charm, because this barely even sounds like the same band anymore, and completely eclipses everything about their past efforts across the board. I can't remember the last time I went from hating a band to finding them awesome, but that's the case here, no doubt. 15 tracks ranging from one to five minutes and covering all sorts of ground from crushingly heavy and borderline caustic intensity to atypically arranged chord progressions that fuse melody and dissonance to bizarrely spacious riffing and layering that creates sinister atmospheres reminiscent of Converge or Cave In during their most formidable years, but given strangely avant-garde facelifts. Plus, there are plenty of dark rhythmic pulses and noisy excursions accented by dense smatterings of tactful electronics, and the vocals are all over the place from layered shouting, singing, and spoken passages to whacked out effects and whatnot – all of which is far more effective than their past efforts. It's somewhat of an impossible task to categorize this band now, and that's very cool. This is an excellent fucking record.
The packaging on this thing is fucking ridiculous, too. And I mean that in a good way. The booklet is huge and contains tons of metallic silver ink that creates some interesting layering effects, and the cover is printed on transparent acetate to continue the whole layering thing. Insane. Very, very recommended. I'm totally shocked and impressed. Pick this shit up: