Fahrenheit 451 - If I Knew Then What I Know Now: The Complete Discography [CD/DVD] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Fahrenheit 451

If I Knew Then What I Know Now: The Complete Discography [CD/DVD] (2006)


Fahrenheit 451 was a mid-to-late `90s, relatively short-lived New York act who were certainly a NYHC band yet sounded little like their inner-city predecessors. Instead, Fahrenheit took large cues from Burn, in turn creating a groove-laden and restrained yet still thumping and charging hardcore sound. And like Burn, they never managed to produce a proper full-length, but through the release of a few EPs, fiery and dynamic live shows and even a national tour with H2O and Vision of Disorder, they left a small legacy on the city and style, especially as far as the Queens and Bronx were concerned.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now seems rather all-encompassing. Outside of the EPs here -- the band's demo tape and The Thought of It, as well as their contributions to the NY's Hardest comp -- there are a few covers and a bunch of unreleased songs, which seem cribbed from sessions for the band's full-length that never materialized. The band seems at their best on The Thought of It, with a superb recording and the best versions of staples like "Shift," "Blind" and "Settle." Frontman Armando Bordas's lyrical base touches upon issues of society, introspection and motivational cues, which really lends a hand in setting the tone and mood of the songs.

The unreleased songs from the full-length sessions are of ridiculously inconsistent quality, though. In the half-good "Guided," the chorus has an iffy, droning nü-metal vibe and it sounds like Jonathan Davis doing a Skindred impression with the screamed vocals on the bridge. "Heights and Castles" has a riff that's awesomely a lot like Hum's "Stars," but the harmonizing is weird. However, it's all made up for by Fugazi and Motörhead covers.

Packaged as well is a DVD of the band's 2005 reunion show at CBGB, with sufficient sound, mostly well-shot video and enough basketball jerseys to clothe an NBA franchise. For one angle, the contrast is terribly high on Bordas, rendering him nearly indistinguishable, but it's only an occasional thing. Everything else is clear and visible, from the multiple stage bum-rush sing-alongs (notably during "Shift") to the mini-explosion of confetti at the end. The band sound quite together, and Bordas's voice sounds true to form compared to the studio recordings and old live footage. The set-closing cover of Burn's "Out of Time" is a nice touch as well.

Old footage is mixed in with the documentary portion of the DVD, which is just long enough to give a decent amount of insight into the band; the occasional flashing of text sometimes adds to the story, correcting facts or poking fun at the members, though occasionally laying on the cheese a bit. Plenty of long-time observers, fans and associates get their say to add to the story. The varied footage shown is of inconsistent quality, but it all gives the DVD a nice archival element and it's all minimally watchable. There's also a fan-shot video for "Guided."

If I Knew Then What I Know Now is a pretty great and seemingly comprehensive package on one of the lesser-known hardcore acts to grace the stage in the `90s. Fahrenheit 451 never seemed to get their dues, but this is certainly a healthy effort.

No More Promises
Heights and Castles
And I