From Autumn to Ashes

Holding a Wolf by the Ears

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From Autumn to Ashes has always thrived on the screaming guy/singing guy dynamic between Ben Perri and Francis Mark. Consequently, it was interesting to see what would happen following lead shrieker Perri's nicely timed 2006 departure, which occurred right before vocals were due to be tracked for Holding a Wolf by the Ears, the Long Island crew's fourth full-length. Instead of recruiting a new pair of lungs, drummer/vocalist/lyricist Mark decided to step out from behind the kit to take over all vocal duties and not just the melodic parts he'd previously been responsible for. Acerbic opener "Deth Kult Social Club" is almost shocking at how fully Mark just goes for the harsh screams, and though Perri's voice was a bit tougher sounding, he does a pretty impressive job taking over the guttural emoting; it's often indistinguishable that the lineup even changed. F.A.T.A. has become increasingly more melodic and accessible as their career has progressed, and that one song aside, Holding a Wolf by the Ears is no different. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, since the guys do still keep the heavy hardcore bottom end around. Super tuneful choruses, as in "Daylight Saving" and "Under Pass Tutorial," mostly drive the proceedings, yet F.A.T.A. never forgets the churning guitars and swirling rhythms (that all inevitably drop into a heavy breakdown) to deliver one tightly wound collection of songs. The newly configured band -- that actually sounds stronger than it has in awhile -- delivers the goods with enough emotional force and power that fans (especially ones who loved 2005's Abandon Your Friends) should eat Wolf right up.

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