From First to Last have had an interesting history. From touring with a member of Limp Bizkit, to signing to a major label, getting dropped then signing again, only to release an album that was recorded twice and even going through a volley of different singers. Even with all that knowledge in my brain, I wouldn't consider myself familiar with their music at all. This made it a somewhat daunting task when I considered reviewing their new album, Throne to the Wolves, but after realizing the band has basically reinvented themselves over the years I felt that now would be the perfect time to really discover From First to Last. This is my invitation to join me, as together we uncover the mystery of this band and their music.
“Cashing Out”: The intro is reminiscent of In Flames. The production is super slick, right down to the vocal effects and the electronic samples. Something about it makes the drums sound downright programmed. Lots of screaming and nasally singing from vocalist/guitarist Matt Good.
“Chyaaaaaa!”: I didn't know this was its own song. It sounded like the sick breakdown from the track before.
“Elvis Said Ambition Is a Dream With a V8 Engine”: "I’d rather be a starving artist than a wealthy critic." Hey buddy, you sent me your album, not the other way around. The song highlights a dislike of bitter and jaded critics, but offers no better alternatives or explanations for why their lifestyle choice is any better.
“G.R.I.T.S.”: The drumbeats and guitar riffs just seem to strike me the same as the previous tracks. Lyrically, it sounds like a high school band singing about leaving town and breaking up with your first girlfriend.
“Going Lohan”: I’m glad they tackled the edgy issue of hating America’s celebrity culture. While the song has some sweet guitar solos, the growl/scream and the repetitive beat makes it unbearable.
“I'll Inoculate the World with the Virus of My Disillusionment”: This song lives and dies by the vocals--the group singing is fun, the screaming and vocal distortion is overused.
“You, Me, And the Significant Other”: A screamo song about being hurt by a girl, that starts out soft, then progresses to angry screams. No surprise.
“The He Man Woman Haters Club”: Same as the previous track but this time the singer is surrounded by a sea of worthless women, or “fame whores” as he calls them. Also, features an electric beat similar to an Orgy track at the opening.
“M.O.”: At this point I’m pretty sure all the songs are bleeding together in my mind. I swear I've heard this.
“A Soft War”: Hey-o! Someone invited T-Pain to the party. Much like Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak, this electro-driven, vocal-affected track is an unexpected, if uninteresting and unenjoyable, departure from the norm.
“Now That You’re Gone”: The album ends like it starts. At this point, it’s all a jumble of nasally vocals, repetitive drum tracks, guitar riffs, screams and vocal effects, just in different measure.
With a new label and claiming complete freedom from the major label system From First to Last had a chance to truly prove themselves as artists and not just fashion-focused screamo. However, the only thing that comes across is they know how to produce a slick album and have technical, though uninteresting, guitarists. The subject matter is mundane and covered so poorly that more than once I found myself asking, “Did an adult really write this?” The album doesn't come across as angry as much as it does frustrated. Issues are taken from simple perspectives and no insight is given nor lessons learned. It’s just, “I’m surrounded by whores, well, any port in a storm,” or “celebrities are stupid and want fame but then cry about it.” There’s literally nothing to be gained by actually paying attention to the album, at all. Throne to the Wolves is like a white Styrofoam box, clean, smooth and well-produced, but artificial-feeling and incredibly boring.