Friday, November 12, 2010

FOR TODAY - "Breaker" Review (2010, Facedown Records)

I hope you like a fair bit of metal, cause this is as metal as it gets! Forget beat-down hardcore, forget metalcore; this is pure METAL, but you could call it progressive death metal, post death-core, or new age metal-hardcore! What For Today do (and they do it well) is form an identity which overlaps most boundaries of modern heavy music and borrows elements from a variety of genres: from discordant, mathematically-calculated breakdowns to pure heavy metal melodies and crazy hardcore blasts. In fact, one could say that this crazy record is comprised of 70% devastating metal, 20% paranoia and 10% spoken word/poetry. That's correct!

Us Europeans may feel a little left behind in front of American bands like For Today, which formulate new sounds while still managing to stay brutal and heavy and true to their roots. Speaking of roots, For Today is an outspoken Christian band that has stayed true to spreading the gospel since their 1st album (Breaker is their 3rd release). I guess this is the element that keeps them close to the hardcore scene (I bet they have more HC fans than metal fans), cause only in hardcore are bands so outspoken and in your face. The lyrics are straight out Christian, and I honestly don't think these guys can be moved from that. They have chosen to tread this dangerous path which might throw off many close-minded fans, and may attract criticism for being overtly vocal of their beliefs; but I for one like the fact that they do what they want regardless. It's the bands with a clear identity and a clear vision that stand out.
For Today: Christian hardcore kids

Back to the music side, we mentioned earlier that For Today have a strong avant-garde/new age flavor to their sound. This is not something we meet every day in metal or hardcore. They combine a technicality that sounds like they came straight out of Berkley, while they just keep throwing the screamo and the beatdowns and the melodic parts at you non-stop (they even end the record with a traditional gospel sing along!). They manage to fit it all into the overall brutality and make it all sound more interesting. There are some very good avant-garde drum intros and guitar interludes, as well as some spoken parts that create an intense spiritual atmosphere from start to finish. These spoken word parts sound like a hardcore poet declaring an age of spiritual independence and profound devotion. It really separates For Today from the countless other bands that do the post death metal/hardcore thing.

In the tired metal/hardcore world, it's bands like For Today that make the difference. They have a distinct message and some strong music to back it up. What else does a band need? This gets at least 8/10.
'Repent or Perish': a different style of devotion

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