Nothing makes me cringe more quickly lately, besides seeing Rosie O'Donnell on TV, than the words â??screamo' and â??melodic' anywhere in close proximity to one another. Inevitably, I know what's coming. D-rate Underaoth. It's like clockwork. If you see those two words near each other in relation to a relatively unknown band, I can promise you that's exactly what they'll sound like. It's foolproof. Try me.
Before Their Eyes are the latest in a long line of bands that can prove this point, but something about them irks me a little more than the others. That something, that something is talent.
And I know it's there. Peeking around some great riffs, trying to climb around pristine vocal harmonies, only to be smacked into last week by a rogue breakdown and the unnecessary screaming that is never far behind.
Look no further than the opening track, "City in a Snow Globe," for exemplification as to how detrimental their foray into the hardcore realm is to any rhythm and cohesiveness that could have otherwise been established. The first minute is a light and melodic one, with singer Nick Moore showing a decent range against a real whimsical background, but the hard-edged riffing that abruptly breaks into the song really does not fit at all. Worse still are the periodic breakdowns and token growls that sound, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. "The Nighttime Is Our Time" begins just the way its predecessor ended, and singer Nick Moore just does not sound at home. Even with a great melodic undercurrent running below the more distorted riffing, the vocals don't mesh.
There is a bright spot on this self-titled endeavour, albeit a brief one. "This Is Redemption, This Is Our Lives Washed Clean" is what the band could have sounded like had they gone a completely different direction; the mellow, Gracer-like feel is very becoming from the band, and even when they pick up the pace and volume a bit in the second half, it works. It sounds like the band is at home, playing to their strengths and not trying to stretch their bounds.
It's frustrating to see a band that's complacent in trying to fit into a specific style rather than play to their strengths. And make no mistake, their strengths do exist. The laid-back, mellow style in "This Is Redemption...'' that sees Moore spreading his wings is one I wish they'd have pursued more, but hey, there's beauty in the breakdown, right?