From First to Last

From First to Last

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From First to Last Review

by Katherine Fulton

There's a section of rhythmic dissonance at the beginning of "Two as One," the opening track of From First to Last, that commands attention because it feels so off balance. In a way, it's fitting that the album opens in such a jarring, awkward manner, as it seems to be a reflection of the disc as a whole. There's plenty of volatile energy on this self-titled album, but nearly two-thirds of it feels hollow and not as urgent as From First to Last's previous works (Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Bodycount and Heroine), an affliction that isn't remedied until the end. Vocalist Matt Good may deliver the lyrics on time and in tune, but he doesn't feel them. It's a lack of passion that extends to the rest of the band as song after song depends on plodding rhythms, uninspired instrumental thrashing, and flat lyrics to get by. (One example, "Worlds Away," depends on a plaintive, repetitious intonation of "on and on and on" to serve as a decent section of the song's chorus.) However, the most frustrating aspect of the album is its own mediocrity -- it isn't bad, but by the time it starts getting good, it's more than halfway completed. The songs on From First to Last that contain the most innovation, the catchiest hooks, and the most vibrancy are relegated to the last part of the album, as if it was all shoved to one side. The result is a disc that drags and gets truly interesting only after it's too late to enjoy it. Starting with "Deliverance" and continuing through "In Memorium in Advance," the final four songs feature more energy than the rest of the album combined; the rhythm section is more limber, the vocals are more melodic and varied (where before it had been the same handful of notes combined with the same set of screams and howls), and the guitars are more aggressive. It begs the question of whether From First to Last's final numbers were the first to be written after Heroine, as they bear far more resemblance to that album than to anything preceding them here. It may have helped to have these pieces spread throughout the album, as it would have prevented it from being crippled by a case of too little, too late.

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