Yes, this is the band whose press photos are quite possibly the epitome of what many would perceive as fashioncore.
Yes, this is the band who took the "screamo" lite of mainstream poster goths the Used and mixed it with the "heaviness" of modern melodic metalcore.
Yes, this is the band whose last record -- which, in fact, did the abovementioned -- was titled Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count.
This is From First to Last. This is Heroine, their new album.
This is, in fact, a decent effort.
Alright, alright, let's settle ourselves. We should begin by recognizing that while Heroine doesn't deliver a truly remarkable musical dent in the face of the marginally underground rock community, it's such a drastic improvement over Diary that it's easy to welcome despite the ridiculous guise put on in front of the music.
No longer do we hear significantly derivative, metalcore-shaded pop track in and out. While vocalist Sonny Moore's singing style is still somewhat whiny and nasally, and he sounds awkward and uncomfortable throughout, FFTL color their music with strokes of Nine Inch Nails-influenced industrial and more realized, metallic post-hardcore with a serious variety of guitar tones and effects. The band rarely employs a scream, and when they're used they tend to be relegated to the background.
Ross Robinson's at the helms here, and that may be why the opener "Mothersound" sounds a lot like an uptempo, Everything-era Glassjaw cut after it opens with a few seconds of Moore's eerie wailing, as he warbles through the chorus with efficiency. Beyond this, the pace varies drastically, especially within the methodical "The Crows Are Coming for Us," where the band shows the height of their ambition. Moore wails in the chorus like Jello Biafra -- seriously -- while the band behind him constructs a canvas of interlaying, heavily spacey noise in a Creative Eclipses-era Cave In sense -- seriously. "World War Me" slides through with a slinky urgency and clinky drums and guitar combination, with Moore finding a fair range in his voice at the chorus. "The Levy" seems to directly reference The Fragile at one more reflective, piano-dependent moment. The last few tracks on the album seem to plod by at a downward pace; maybe even in a spiral. The depressing "Waltz Moore" is quite obviously about bullimia with lines like "I can't eat anything without shoving my hands down my throat" and "I'm staring in the mirror looking back at the person I hate."
Heroine might not work on the whole just because it doesn't retain a uniform pace of something that can actually translate to enjoyability, and it's generally all over the place. Still, there are a few genuinely good songs, and the others offer many promising moments. Certainly, it's hard not to choke on the gallons of eyeliner and face paint and assorted metal pieces of piercings when taking in From First to Last, but the strangest thing is that the aftertaste isn't that bad after all.
The Latest Plague
The Latest Plague
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