Before Their Eyes - Before Their Eyes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Before Their Eyes

Before Their Eyes (2007)


Nothing makes me cringe more quickly lately, besides seeing Rosie O'Donnell on TV, than the words ‘screamo' and ‘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?