Fear Before the March of Flames began as a mix of screamo and angular hardcore punk in the vein of Botch and early Cave In. Over time, the Colorado band's sound diversified. Melodic vocals, electronics, and acoustic guitars entered the stew, which boiled over in 2006 on the delightfully sprawling The Always Open Mouth. Afterwards, the band changed direction. It dropped its corrosive elements, embraced its dark side, and correspondingly shortened its name to Fear Before. The result is no fun at all. Although previous releases could be annoyingly abrasive, they also had an appealing brattiness that's gone now. In its place is earnestly joyless rock. Now Fear Before are just another modern emo band. The vocals are competent but are heavily derivative of Faith No More's Mike Patton; some inflections also mirror those of Bane's Aaron Bedard. Technical prowess is high here. "I'm Fine Today" swims in eerie jangles, and "Tycho" floats on dreamy vocal harmonies. But the samey songs blend together with saccharine production. Fear Before try to capture the quirky darkness of Faith No More's Angel Dust, but Dog Fashion Disco did it first, and more successfully. Growing up has hardly been so depressingly conventional.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Cosmo Lee