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Fear Before - The Always Open Mouth (Cover Artwork)

Fear Before

Fear Before: The Always Open MouthThe Always Open Mouth (2006)
Equal Vision Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Eschew, eschew -- from one album to the next, this is what Fear Before the March of Flames do. The first of these transitions brought mixed results. The Aurora, CO outfit left behind many a comparison to their more Northern, similarly art damaged hardcore brethren in the Blood Brothers -- instead.
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Eschew, eschew -- from one album to the next, this is what Fear Before the March of Flames do.

The first of these transitions brought mixed results. The Aurora, CO outfit left behind many a comparison to their more Northern, similarly art damaged hardcore brethren in the Blood Brothers -- instead, seemingly recycling a collection of Botch riffs and in turn producing an array of mostly passing white noise -- on 2004's Art Damage, which followed their noisy, delightfully structureless debut by just a year. With two years between Damage and the new effort, The Always Open Mouth, Fear Before show the time served them well, with their ambitions having grown admirably to create an album that carefully erases borders and spreads curious foundations across, a "heavy music" album that calls for inspiration from a number of angles.

What's key to The Always Open Mouth is experimentation, dynamics and the wide breadth of influences from which the band draws. Frontman David Marion's screaming voice has taken on a gravelly, expressive grumbling sort of tone -- he seems to take much from Coalesce, notably in "Drowning the Old Hag," a song throbbing with wailing, angular guitars that set the scene of wild flames at work. However, there's often an eerie, melodic counterpart to his growl, sung in an offsetting high pitch. This creates a consistently unnatural feel throughout the album's course, as it often delves into dark electronics and methodical, paced guitars. "The Waiting Makes Me Curious" commences with slightly droning, softly pounding instruments in a post-rock, Pelican-like fashion. "High as a Horse" finds Marion singing in a muttered styling in the verses that brings to mind Dennis Lyxzén at his most hushed moments in Refused, yet it's set aside for dual, pleading screams in the chorus. "My (Fucking) Deer Hunter" is pure haunt on the verses with strange, unsettling and punctual industrial pinches but a huge, bold, and yearning chorus expressed, awash in atmospheric guitars. Marion's apathetic repetitions of "[...] what's best for me tonight [...]" in the last minute of "Lycanthropy" brings to mind Short Bus-era Filter channeling Nine Inch Nails. The lazy group vocal chant of "everything will not be made right" in Mouth's closer, "Absolute Past," is a light stomp of a hook that'll last in your head for days.

For all these curious moments however, that's Mouth's biggest fault -- rarely do they actually coalesce enough to create a linear, great song. Surely, the album keeps your attention through its duration, but not often does a particular track stand out, only a flash of time. This gets to be quite obvious by the tenth track or so.

This detraction however is not enough to regard The Always Open Mouth as anything but a relatively enjoyable and drastic improvement over its predecessor. Far more ambitious and with an ever-reaching arm, Fear Before the March of Flames proves there's a stock of creativity in their bodies that's entirely more earnest and honorable than most of their active peers they'll be associated with from this point on.

STREAM
Drowning the Old Hag
Mouth
Lycanthropy

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
MasterShakeOwns (July 29, 2008)

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best Fear Before album.

Silas (September 15, 2007)

To completely write this band off simply for the fact that you have not found their earlier work to be anything more than sonic bursts of aural dirt (which many do) would be unfair, to say the least.
If not for the fact that it does in fact promote itself as a cohesive album (despite what many naysayers will claim), then for the fact that it resides on an entirely different plane of existence than it's two predecessors.
When I first heard of the concept for this album from a friend who had previously worked with Bobby Darling, one of Fear Before's producer for this album, for his own band (name drop not necessary), I can honestly say that I was excited to hear what the final product would sound like.
Needless to say, the waiting made me curious.
Yes, that was a slightly sad attempt at a pre-processed joke, thank you very much.
Anyways.
A fan of Fear Before, I have been, and although this may lead to the suspicion that my opinion is biased, I am more than happy to proudly state the fact.
Granted, Fear's earlier work is far from perfect. And I stress that. And even the current indulgence is far from the aforementioned standard. But then again, who can honestly say that there is an album out there that reaches perfection.
Save for David Hasselhoff's extensive library of gold.
I kid. I kid.
But getting back to the actual point of this post, this collective's most recent work has few easily visible flaws.
And I say this with full confidence.
The down-tempo industrial beats flourish. And can often hardly be tagged as "down-tempo", even.
The anitphony between David Marion's newly re-worked, brash, gravelly vocal style and Adam Fisher's high-pitched and often off-kilter quips brings about a new maturity in the written vocal parts.
Casey Bates did a superb job engineering and mixing the final cuts of the tracks, and I believe that the overall sound flows much better than most that I have heard as of late.
All in all, I am not a "fanboy" by any means.
I think that the work the members of 36Flip did was downright awful. But that says nothing for the newly worked sound of The Always Open Mouth. Granted, there are a few ditches (that are easily avoidable) in the landscape portrait that this album paints, but either way it does not detract from the maturity that Fear has achieved with this latest release.
When it all boils down, and I am in the mood for something of this ilk, I cannot listen to just one song, but must spin the album in it's entirety.
In my opinion, that is the only way to listen to it.
And I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. If you do not feel up to that, then at the very least download a few tracks. And not just the ones plastered across most of these review sites.

My god, that was long.

elliot (April 10, 2007)

It's beyond me how anyone could call this album cohesive. The songs are completely different from each other, and nothing bounces off itself well. One song will have goofy techno parts, the next will have weird radio rock. The album just flat out makes no sense.

With that said, I don't think it's awful. I just enjoy when people hear an album like this, clearly don't understand it, but pretend like they do.

Kursk (February 22, 2007)

So after hearing "Taking Cassandra...." i wasn't too sure about this album, and I knew they were going to be doing a lot more experimenting with this album. But after listening to the whole thing, it's every bit as good as Art Damage, if not better. The only complaint I have about the album is not even about the album, but the video for Taking Cassandra (I actually kind of like the song now) because it is super gay looking to me.

victim (February 21, 2007)

Oh, and I'm sure a lot of the people who are panning this were all over Circle Takes The Square, even though they don't particularly like scream-o.

It seems to me if you liked As The Roots Undo, this is everybit as good.

victim (February 21, 2007)

I had written off listening to this because there were so many negative "fashioncore" comments but I have to say this is really pretty awesome. And I don't even listen to the bands most people are comparing them to - Botch, Converge, etc.

Anonymous (February 4, 2007)

Don't understand it?Yeah! cause it's so complex.right?,give me a fuckin break,this is a band that all metalcore kids listen cause it makes them feel smart.Nothing new going on here,just another facelift on the dying genre of metalcore.

belladonna (September 24, 2006)

I'm sorry, but anyone who bashes this band with terms like "fashioncore" is obviously an idiot. This cd is a breath of fresh air and you all either A. don't understand it, or B. are too "cool" to admit it.

Allular (September 21, 2006)

"I was actually referring to Drop Dead, Gorgeous when I made that statement."

Oh, I know. It's coo. :)

Anonymous (September 21, 2006)

I think the Fear Before guys might have been listening to DEP's Miss Machine a lot when they wrote this.

tenwestchaser (September 21, 2006)

"Tenwestchaser, you've never listened to Botch or Converge before, have you?"

Haha are you kidding me? I have a converge sticker on the back of my car, not to mention that both bands are in my profile and Fear Before isnt. Converge is one of my all time favorite bands and Botch is incredible. You can't compare either to Fear Before, both are clearly superior. I'm just saying the strict "fashioncore" or "screamo" labels on Fear Before just aren't justified in my book. I think they are a couple notches above their alleged mediocrity.

crazytoledo (September 21, 2006)

Posted by Allular on 2006-09-21 02:35:48

"I absolutely hate this band. They make my ears bleed."


I was actually referring to Drop Dead, Gorgeous when I made that statement.

Allular (September 21, 2006)

Bought the album. I'm not surprised how people judge the album, probably without even hearing it, but this is honestly one of the most cohesive ALBUMS I've heard in awhile. This definitely isn't just a bunch of songs thrown together.

I completely don't understand the fashioncore term after this album. Freakin' ignorant.

Allular (September 21, 2006)

"I absolutely hate this band. They make my ears bleed."

I took one look at their publicity shot and I already made my mind up that I wasn't going to listen to them.

Archangel (September 20, 2006)

Tenwestchaser, you've never listened to Botch or Converge before, have you?

crazytoledo (September 20, 2006)

I think the fact that they use long song/goofy song titles, have a long name, and have some of the trendiest most "scene" fashion merch people over look them musically. Give it a rest. This band isnt near as terrible or generic as everyone claims. If you want to talk terrible lets please talk about utter trash like Bullet For My Valentine or Trivium or any other obviously generic, musically irrelevent bandwaggoners. Fear Before's music, whether you like it or not, is quirky and different (especially comparitavely).

Hey, I don't agree with the shot at Trivium. And if you don't like them, check out their upcoming album, 'the Crusade.' Personally it's a little bit disappointing, but that's because 'Ascendancy' was one of the better albums I've heard. Anyways, listen to the guitarwork, Matt Heafy and the other guitarist are purely amazing, and Heafy's only 20.

Speaking of FBTMOF merch, I have one of their shirts. It's sky blue and it's your typical awesome, slightly undersized T-shirt.

feeeding5000 (September 20, 2006)

Fear Before the March of Complete and Utter Mediocrity. I hope some Nazis misinterpret the meaning of the name and start giving white power salutes at their shows. Then they'd get more publicity, though.

arrhythmia (September 20, 2006)

Shit, I forgot I already commented on this album. Gd.

arrhythmia (September 20, 2006)

This band is pretty terrible. If you want to listen to good screamo, there's too many bands to listen to already. I liked their first CD because the song titles were cool. But then the song titles started sucking and I could find no other redemptive qualities.

And I listened to Lycanthropy, like the other guy said, and it sucks.

tenwestchaser (September 20, 2006)

I think the fact that they use long song/goofy song titles, have a long name, and have some of the trendiest most "scene" fashion merch people over look them musically. Give it a rest. This band isnt near as terrible or generic as everyone claims. If you want to talk terrible lets please talk about utter trash like Bullet For My Valentine or Trivium or any other obviously generic, musically irrelevent bandwaggoners. Fear Before's music, whether you like it or not, is quirky and different (especially comparitavely).

crazytoledo (September 20, 2006)

Drop Dead, Gorgeous.

I absolutely hate this band. They make my ears bleed.

joeg (September 20, 2006)

fashioncore or not, those 3 songs i heard are downright awful. and this is supposed to be an improvement over their last few records? yikes.

Allular (September 20, 2006)

"Are you joking? Look a few years ago, into this band's past, when they were playing my high school's Battle of the Bands under the name of 36Flip just as the pop-punk heavy hitters were going down. Once it became clear that New Found Glory were on the way out, these assholes changed their name and jumped genres faster than anything you've seen.

Once screamo in its latest incarnation became cool, these tools were all over it. These douches are the absolute PORTRAIT of fashioncore."

I think the term fashioncore is a bit too much for these guys. At least right now. They're doing so much more musically for the "scene" (whatever it is right now) than say, a Denver band you should probably pick on more, like Drop Dead, Gorgeous.

Look, not everyone can be musical geniouses in HIGH SCHOOL. Not everyone can get into Converge or Lawrence Arms or whatever band is cool. Get over it. I'm sure you liked some crappy bands too when you were in high school.

It just seems like you have a huge chip on your shoulder towards them from the time they released their first album (which admittedly, sucks) to now, when they're actually making some pretty engaging, relevant music that doesn't sound like they're jumping on any bandwagon than their own. More than I can say about some other bands on their label.

Anonymous (September 20, 2006)

This band really can't be compared to your standard screamo band, they are obvioulsy influenced by the genre but go so far beyond the limitations it has. Some bands just have some undesirable fans, anyone calling this fashioncore is too biased to give it a fair listen.

Anonymous (September 20, 2006)

Fear Before The March of Dimes.....damn, never gets old.

Archangel (September 19, 2006)

"I'm trying to think of what kind of "bandwagon" they could be jumping on with this album. I'm stumped."

Are you joking? Look a few years ago, into this band's past, when they were playing my high school's Battle of the Bands under the name of 36Flip just as the pop-punk heavy hitters were going down. Once it became clear that New Found Glory were on the way out, these assholes changed their name and jumped genres faster than anything you've seen.

Once screamo in its latest incarnation became cool, these tools were all over it. These douches are the absolute PORTRAIT of fashioncore.

crazytoledo (September 19, 2006)

This album is crazy. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, as I haven't listened to the entire thing yet, but from what I've heard, this release is really good.

arrhythmia (September 19, 2006)

I would set myselfetc. is mediocre. I mean, it's good, but it's no saetia or pg.99. I don't think these guys are trying to fit into that subgenre of screamo. They were never really a good band, but I'll probably give a couple of songs a listen. And Art Damage was total crap.

mfOHIO (September 19, 2006)

this band sucks

VeniceBeachxc (September 19, 2006)

Fear Before the huge line of cocks that are going straight into your always open mouth.....fuck this band, and all of the scene kids that enable this garbage to exist.

Anonymous (September 19, 2006)

Being a pretty big fan, I'd listened to this album while playing something and that was probably a bad move, because much to my dismay, I pretty much misjudged it thinking it was crap. Then I listened a couple more times. While I don't like it as much as I did Art Damage or OHPS, there are really some stunning tracks here and there. "Drowning the Old Hag," "Mouth," My (Fucking) Deer Hunter," "Lycanthropy" and "A Brief Tutorial In Bachanalia" really are amazing.

Plague_Visions (September 19, 2006)

i think this is my new favorite albums
def. going on my top 10 of 2006 (hell, i doubt 10 good CDs will have even came out by the year's end. 06 has sucked bad.)

kill_fftl (September 19, 2006)

queerssss

Anonymous (September 19, 2006)

isnt the 44 song called lycanthropy too?

Anonymous (September 19, 2006)

i always LOL when people call these guys fashioncore, because they definitely havent heard this or Art Damage , both of which are probably more obtuse and "for the art" than anything IWSMOFFY have ever done (and I like them a lot too). Yeah, being on EVR they have lots of kids who sign up as a fan just to wear the neat looking youth small tshirts, but this album and this band are great. God forbid you give them a chance.

Anonymous (September 19, 2006)

Despite what mot people say, Art Damage was actually very good. If you can't see past the noise on the record, then you are never going to get it. I really dont understand how people liked their first one better.

This album is a huge change and while some of the songs are awesome, most of the them don't stand out. I personally liked Art Damage better, but I'm not completely disappointed with this release.

I am apparrently the only person on the planet who thinks this.

Anonymous (September 19, 2006)

I dont think anyone was really in love with this band back in the day. Everything I've ever read on here is purely negative about them in the comment section. I wouldnt really call myself a bandwagon jumper. I've given there first few albums fair shakes and they do have some good moments. However, this is easily there best album to date. Lycanthropy is the best song they have ever made. FBRTMOF may have be guilty of trying to much, however one thing is this album is far from being repetitive throughout and these days that is extremely hard to find.

Anonymous (September 19, 2006)

"It sounds like Minus The Bear, Cursive, " Scott sorry but youre an idiot

almostpunkenough (September 19, 2006)

meh.

salsashark (September 19, 2006)

I Would Set Myself... rules. I also love some of FBTMOF's stuff. It may sound like typical screamo stuff to some, but I enjoy it a lot.

Allular (September 19, 2006)

"bands such as Fear before, i see them as just a gimmick. jumping on the bandwagon."

I'm trying to think of what kind of "bandwagon" they could be jumping on with this album. I'm stumped.

greyicewater (September 19, 2006)

as i listen to this band i always find myself interested at first, but then i become bored as the song goes on. they do not keep my attention. these songs do sound progressively better than previous ones though. i give them that.

But archangel is right, everyone goes crazy over bands like this, but will pass up a band that is truely innovative like Iwouldetc... it's a sad thing. i know Iwouldetc is doing what they do for the sake of art. and i find that highly respectable any band. bands such as Fear before, i see them as just a gimmick. jumping on the bandwagon. maybe i'm wrong. i dont know. it's just how i see it. so i find it hard enjoying them.

Archangel (September 19, 2006)

I gave "Drowning..." and "Lycanthropy" a listen and I still can't see any redeemable quality to this band.

Everyone's going to shit themselves with joy over these assholes but completely pass up "I Would Set Myself On Fire For You", even though Fear Before the Blah Blah Blah is just as melodramatic a name screaming "FASHIONCORE" at the top of its lungs.

And yes I know the name comes from a newspaper headline... doesn't save it.

Allular (September 19, 2006)

What I've heard is REALLY good.

It's like if Nine Inch Nails really liked Botch.

conebone69 (September 19, 2006)

I don't give two shits about their music but I saw a few moments of their video on Fuse.

These guys are some really ugly motherfuckers.

Anonymous (September 19, 2006)

I completely agree Scott. You sumed it up perfect.

Anonymous (September 19, 2006)

It's not cohesive at all, but a cornucopia of awesomeness.

maverick (September 19, 2006)

I hated this band's first two records, but this one's about 10,000 times better than either. They really did some creative, innovative shit here. t sounds like Muse, Minus The Bear, Cursive, Circa Survive and Scarlet all rolled up into one.

-Scott

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