Before Today - A Celebration Of An Ending (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Before Today

A Celebration Of An Ending (2004)

Equal Vision

Culling its main influence from straight-forward 90s skate punk (namely Lagwagon) and taking it from there, Before Today attempts a mostly melodic punk sound that mixes in the new-school screaming trend, Thursday-ish post-hardcore, odd tempo changes and incomplete efforts of experimentation. Though the band is competent in pulling off these moderately abrupt changeups in tempo, mood, and pacing to give them a slightly different expression from any post-2002 "punk with screams" band, their basic skate punk frame places a few genre-hopping riffs across the board and intertwined almost-ballads that shouldn't warrant the mostly derivative quartet a whole lot of credit, but there's enough going on to savor a few listens.

For a band so sunk into the surface of melodic punk, Before Today tends to be overdramatic and overserious in their sound too often. I'm pretty sure this sound is supposed to be fun, but the band has it mostly drained in favor of apocalypse-attempted atmospheres and creepy, sound-filling octaves while juxtaposing the lyrical content with what I'm sure will be mistaken for faith-based positivity by some haphazard critic. Here, it's an influence more of the hardcore variety than the religious quantity (lyrically, of course). These somewhat-awkward attempts at bringing new things to an intensely rehashed genre are what really gives the album most of its standing ground.

"Pierce The Veil" begins with a midpaced drum roll and subsequent declarations over a bouncing chord progression, only to lead into the said skate punk frame, and again finish with the midtempo feel. While it doesn't really go anywhere, it does find its home by the time the song ends. "The Process Of Losing And Gaining" finds the band yelling and screaming desperately over the Fat sound, allowing a soft drum roll and sifting guitars - and recalling the earlier Thursday comparison - precede some clever, bouncing octaves under the forewarning "we should be wiser / than our fathers," and eventually speed up and then slow down again. "Color Your World" is an odd instrumental track that closes the disc out, seeing as how the band finds themselves playing a 311-styled nu-reggae and jazz hybrid, showcasing their final effort in striving for individuality.

Their derivative nature is at least met with an obvious desperation for creativity - think Why We Fight-esque Gatsby's American Dream, and you'll have a perfect idea of this notion. Before Today tries breathing new life into a growing style with mixed results; maybe as the years pass, they'll have this resurrection thing down pat.

Roots Beneath Ideals
Pierce The Veil
The Process Of Losing And Gaining