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Open Mind Saturated Brain

ZEGEMA BEACH RECORDS

Sunday, 1 March 2015

FEAR BEFORE (THE MARCH OF FLAMES)

GenresPunk / Rock / Post-Hardcore / Post-Metal / Emo / Alternative / Hardcore
Related artistsClarity Process, All Human and Orbs.
CountryAurora, Colorado USA
Years Active2002-2010
Song: "Drowning the Old Hag"
Album: "The Always Open Mouth"
Year: 2006
Label(s): Self Released / Equal Vision Records / Rise Records / Suburban Home Records / Grey Flight Records / Vinyl Collective
This post's artist is from the January 2014 Mix. This is track #2.
You can download: the February Mix#12 right here or get the new March 2015 Mix#1 here.
For fans ofHeavy Heavy Low Low, Boys Night Out, Botch, Norma Jean, Circa Survive, Saosin, This Day Forward, Curl Up And Die, Ed Gein, Akimbo, Every Time I Die, United Nations, Hopesfall, The Jonbenét, Transistor Transistor, The Blood Brothers, Since By Man, Seventeen Again, Recover, Alexisonfire, Codeseven, Taking Back Sunday, Trophy Scars, Said GonerPoison The Well and Thursday.

I remember shying away from FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES because all the pictures I saw made me think of wussy/mall emo, but boy was I wrong after I picked up 'Art Damage' back in 2005. Considering I'm a Botch fanatic and I'm a sucker for back and forth screaming bonanzas this had me falling over myself. Each album that the band released was very unique, progressive and generally half amazing/half mediocre. I'll shit out a paragraph for each release besides the "demo" self titled EP.

'Odd How People Shake' has to be considered a classic at this point, with it being the band's debut full length and all. It sparked quite the following as far as I can remember, as this was back in 2003. "Fashion Tips Baby" is both crushing and poppy all within the first minute. Imagine a much more chaotic and abrasive Alexisonfire (debut LP-era) and a hint of Akimbo and a fair amount of The Jonbenét in the vocal department. That's one of the great things about this band, their ability to toss out an insane amount of variety between the two guys. "Given to Dreams" is a harrowing ordeal that lends itself to Curl Up And Die meets Recover's early material and busts out the jams near the end with some ridiculous back and forth screaming - that is how it is done! "Girl's Got a Face Like Murder" is one of the best two tracks on here, along with "The Lisbon Girls, oh the Lisbon Girls" as they push the heavy envelope in the metallic/post-hardcore/rock genres that had been established at the time and start to grasp at . The faux-climax in "The Lisbon Girls, oh the Lisbon Girls" at the 34-second mark pays off at 0:48 as they band pushes full force after the Botchy/Norma Genie (ha) intro with the guitar noodling.


'Art Damage' is fucking unrelenting, badass, cannibalistic, dark, Botchy and downright ridiculous. To start, they include an Ebaums title reference to those beautifully hilarious (aka fucked up) dubbed GI Joe videos that were all the rage in the early 2000s. The songs have almost no clean vocals, but when they are included they compliment the dark and eerie mystique of the record. The abrasive screaming goes both high and low, which is showcased during the opening track "Hey Kid I'm a Computer, Stop All the Downloading""Should Have Stayed in the Shallows" opens with a riff that audibly resembles Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution" before delving into much heavier, screamy material. The primary vocalist really boasts a range of screams from upper register screaming (is that even a thing) ala  The Great Redneck Hope to lower stuff (check the instrumental stop and low growl at 1:30) and everything in between (see Seventeen Again) and ends with what sounds like a slowly dying demon. "Consequences David, You'll Meet Your Fate in the Styx" reminds me of Norma Jean's 'O'God; The Aftermath' and is a fucking killer song. There's one echoing, dreamy interlude at two minutes but otherwise it never lets up. "Whiskey Is Alright in Its Place But Its Place Is in Hell" is a mindfuck that is the fastest and craziest song on the album and has been a contender as my favourite track for a decade now. A few lyrical cuts, "we were meant to eat each other" and "I eat children". "The Story of the Curious Oysters" and "The God Awful Truth" are two other really good songs from this 2004 LP.

'The Always Open Mouth' incorporates a helluva lot more melody, both vocally and instrumentally. "Drowning the Old Hag" is, without a doubt, the heaviest song the band ever recorded. This sounds like a different band considering the rest of the album. It's epic, treacherous and each part of the song is essential for the next. On the other end of the spectrum songs such as "High as a Horse" start out like they belong in a Tim Burtion claymation movie. "Complete and Utter Confusion" follows a similar ambient tangent to start, but afterwards shifts back and forth between softer, dark, synth-pop and screamy hardcore. "My Deer Hunter" manages to really cross the line from mediocre alternative/hardcore to all-time classic. Incorporating the styling of Anthony Green FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES create a creepy verse with a phenomenal chorus, which I would posit is easily the sweetest arrangement of any of the band's material. It reminds me a lot of "Dark Driving" by Cave In. "Lycanthropy" starts out like it could be culled from a Nine Inch Nails album and although it has a few run ins with post-hardcore and the like, it doesn't deviate from the quirky and surprising nature of the record. "A Brief Tutorial in Bachanalia" is another interesting track that is hit or miss until the halfway mark when the in and out build hits a climax and rides that shit out and comes close to "Drowning the Old Hag" in its heaviness. My final pick from this breakthrough record for the band is "A Gift for Fiction" which busts outta the gates as if it was the first track written because the opening sounds straight outta 'Art Damage' and although it slows down a teensy weensy bit there's no clean, poppy stuff in here. Great fucking record.

For the album 'Fear Before' the band shortened their name to FEAR BEFORE, which I'm still not as much of a fan of. The album logically progresses forward from the previous outing. "Get Your Life Together" was the single released before the album dropped and boy did it get my attention. The first 30 seconds are a live recording which is muffled and seems oddly out of place. After this part wraps up they bust out the best dual singing they've ever pulled off, but don't let that fool you, as this is the heaviest of the tracks on this album. "Born to the earth, 10 fingers and toes!". If the record had more songs like this it might have ended up being my favourite, but there are a few throwaway tracks on here. "Jabberwocky" is the most interesting and probably accessible song FEAR BEFORE released, as it spirals through paranoid pop/ambiance that revolves around both vocalists belting out more clean vocals that'll stick in your head, "that's what I'm afraid of these days," and at 1:55 it culminates with instrumental backing and straddles the line between dark pop and a joke song, but as I said it comes across as one of the strongest tracks on the album. "Everything's Not Shitty" follows the album's preconceived notion of dual singing, not crazy call-and-response screaming and reminds me a lot of the softer Poison The Well material, particularly from 'The Tropic Rot'. This song hits some harder notes but is still a poppier post-hardcore song than anything. "Review Our Lives (epic)" wraps up the album and is a good song, but there's something about the vocals here that throw me off. The higher singing has a lot more sass and comes across a lot like Christiansen, while the lower end singer hits some questionable notes that are neither singing nor yelling. By the close we are treated to some hard material and screaming, but this song comes off as unsure of where it was heading from the get go.

So yeah, FEAR BEFORE (THE MARCH OF FLAMES) were really, really good. Hope you enjoyed the read.


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DISCOGRAPHY
Click )==>here<==( to download the band's complete discography in mp3 form.

2002 - Fear Before The March Of Flames cdEP

2003 - Odd How People Shake cd/12"LP

2004 - Art Damage cd/12"LP

2006 - The Always Open Mouth cd/12"LP

2007 - A Little Less Teeth cdEP (anyone have this?)

2008 - Fear Before cdLP

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(2002) FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES - "Given to Dreams of What Shall Never" (from 'Fear Before The March Of Flames')

(2003) FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES - "The Lisbon Girls, oh the Lisbon Girls" (from 'Odd How People Shake')

(2003) FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES - "Girl's got a Face like Murder" (from 'Odd How People Shake')

(2004) FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES - "Hey Kid I'm a Computer, Stop All the Downloading" (from 'Art Damage')

(2004) FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES - "Should Have Stayed in the Shallows" (from 'Art Damage') official music video

(2006) FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES - "Drowning the Old Hag" (from 'The Always Open Mouth')

(2006) FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES - "My Deer Hunter" (from 'The Always Open Mouth')

(2008) FEAR BEFORE - "Get Your Life Together" (from 'Fear Before')

(2008) FEAR BEFORE - "Jabberwocky" (from 'Fear Before')

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FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES mp3 discography download / additional links

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