Don't Look Down - The Fear In Love (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Don't Look Down

The Fear In Love (2004)


There's a good year between Don't Look Down's Five EP and their latest effort, The Fear In Love, so wouldn't you would think with that time the band could gather a couple original ideas and maybe cool down on the shameless Thrice aping their aforementioned release offered? No? Well, yeah, me neither.

Perhaps riding some new middle ground between a more proficient, less whiny/technical Matchbook Romance and the post-hardcore stylings of latter-era Thrice, the band is starting to shed some of their old skin, but there's some really clear copycatting to be found on the disc. The lead track, "Right Where It Hurts," is probably the best evidence of such, as it's a veritable resusciation attempt of The Artist In The Ambulance, replete with references to a shadow and the "these riffs are technical, I swear!" mentality. While the rest of the album is slightly more original and even inanely catchy at points (I cursed myself for spending a day with "Last Breath"), lead vocalist Ryan Ogren still sounds like an awful lot like a younger, more raspy Dustin Kensrue. The band is doing some things right, but only in the sense of what they avoid, as The Fear In Love is devoid of unnecessary breakdowns and screaming. Shocking, I know.

I really wanted to avoid talking about lyrical content out of pure disgust, but it's a pressing point that I'll obviously need to discuss. Though the previously mentioned Thriceaholic tendencies bleed into the songwriting as well (allusions to hearts, the dark, vague murder, the burning of metaphysical objects), the talent apparently forgot to tag along again. Story of the Year would be proud of a couplet like "I can't breathe / you're choking me / your words are hands around my throat / they penetrate my skin - and kill me." This continues for each of the twelve tracks, but I'll save us both the effort from further examples.

When the positive points of a band is what they're not doing, you should probably be wary. Don't Look Down are slowly starting to crawl out of the hole they'd quickly dug themselves to begin with, but it's apparently a long, rough journey ahead up.

To All Our Saviors
Trust is a Word
Last Breath
The Fear In Love

To All Our Saviors Quicktime download / Windows Media stream