You might know Fear Before by their previous (and much longer) name, Fear Before the March of Flames. The band ditched the last four words before putting out their new self-titled album, Fear Before. This name change wasn’t so far-fetched, as the band appears to re-invent itself on every album it releases.
With past releases ranging from the quasi-metalcore of Odd How People Shake to the jagged and aggressive Art Damage to 2006’s industrial-tinged The Always Open Mouth, Fear Before never seems quite satisfied with their own sound. This album sees the band through cues from progressive/post-hardcore quartet These Arms Are Snakes by adding angular guitar lines that drive most of the tunes.
The downfall of the album is the vocals. With practically each member of the band contributing, a single vocal style rarely lasts more than 30 seconds. From singing to screaming and even shouting style vocals, Fear Before simply has trouble making up their mind. It really is a shame, because the constantly morphing vocals take away from what would otherwise be interesting songs.
The most obvious departure from their earlier work is the lack of the band’s odd time signatures. The band seems content to play in a normal time signature for the length of an entire song, as opposed to the more math-oriented Art Damage. Gone are the curious electronic doodlings of The Always Open Mouth. Instead, various embellishments are made using keyboards, like the awesome use of vocoder in “Everything’s Not Shitty.”
The bottom line is this: Fear Before is never the same band twice. That reason alone can justify checking out this record.