Fear Before - Odd How People Shake [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Fear Before

Odd How People Shake [reissue] (2004)

Equal Vision

As I looked at the title of the band Fear Before the March of Flames, the unwieldy name printed on the cover of "Odd How People Shake" I came to a sort of realization. The recent habit of naming bands after abstract sounding phrases seems to reveal more about the doldrums of the scene than first appears. Just like the band names seem to be composed of random words strung together, it seems more and more like these bands do the same thing with their sound.

In the case of FBTMOF, they seem to be gluing together their influences just the way they've glued together the name of the band. Each track seems to follow a telegraphed pattern; aggressive screamed opening, a slow down into a more melodic, indie rock influenced (and occasional spoken) place through the bridge, and back to the heavy screaming. While some of the tracks vary slightly on the simple formula - like "Girl's Got a Face Like Murder" which starts off slowly for a few seconds, and delays the inevitable screaming aggressive bit before returning to the safety of the formula.

While the band's bio heaps on the praise, comparing the band to such progressive luminaries like Converge, Botch and the Blood Brothers, the band does little to live up to the praise. In fairness, those comparisons are hard for anyone to live up to, but the height of the bar aside, there is little to single out the band period. A more honest biography might compare the band to their previous tour mates Dead Poetic, Anatomy of a Ghost, and a slightly less dynamic Blood Brothers.

I know that some people are critical of reviews because there is so much emphasis placed on world changing originality, but ask yourself why you'd want an imitation when the original is in the next aisle? I certainly don't feel that there is anything calculated about the band's attempt; I'm sure they are sincere in their musical endeavors, but for all their sound and fury, there is little to separate them from the increasingly large and homogenous pack. The wealth of interesting influences throughout Odd How People Shake suggests a promising future, but this record isn't it.