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Fear Before the March of Flames - Always Open Mouth Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 9.5
Creativity 9.5
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.75
Final Verdict: 91%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8.07
Lyrics 8.11
Production 8.46
Creativity 8.54
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Average: 83%

Fear Before the March of Flames - Always Open Mouth

Reviewed by: OKComputer1016 (03/11/09)
Fear Before The March Of FlamesAlways Open Mouth
Record Label: Equal Vision
Release Date: September 19, 2006


The moment a band decides to head in a new musical direction, fans tend to feel isolated and disappointed. When the Smashing Pumpkins moved toward electronic music with Adore, as Billy will still point out today, their time in the spotlight was over. When The Ramones tried to embrace the ‘hardcore’ revolution with songs like “Animal Boy”, people stopped caring about them altogether. Most rock fans are far from Democratic when it comes to new releases from their favorite bands.

But Always Open Mouth shows us that change can be a good thing too. A complete 180 degree turn from the math-rock masterpiece Art Damage, Always Open Mouth borrows more from modern indie bands like Minus The Bear than Coalesce, focusing on expression above technicality. For example, in “Taking Cassandra to the End of the World Party”, everything but percussion drops out for one of the most intense moments on the record. Subtleties like that give the album its haunted, desperate air, and there’s not a track on here that doesn’t captivate.

Fear Before [the March of Flames] contemplate the problems that face today’s younger generation, from suicidal thoughts on “The Waiting Makes Me Curious” (“Just like I came into this world / all by myself I will leave it”), to over-medication on “High as a Horse” (“There’s no need to talk when we have medicine / There’s a pill for every fucked up child.”)

Every band in the hardcore/metal/whatever-you-dub-it scene has chipped away at the heavy/light cliché, but this is really nothing like any album you’ve heard before. There are layers upon layers of sound, so that each listening is a rewarding experience. And even the vocals themselves are indescribable; the shouting during the choruses (such as on “High as a Horse”) is so vulnerable that it sounds like one or more voice boxes may be on the verge of collapse. It’s a wholly emotional ride from start to finish.

It’s all framed perfectly, too: the opener “Absolute Future” foreshadows the closer “Absolute Past” (with the two songs sharing lyrics and a melody), with all of the songs in between more-or-less flowing into each other. Part of the appeal comes from the enigmatic packaging: the liner notes are full of headshots of confused youths, while the lyrics themselves can be found in a tiny booklet sealed underneath the plastic jewel case.

So, although some fans might be disappointed by how different the album is from its predecessor (seeing as the only song on here that sounds like Art Damage is “A Gift For Fiction”, and that one’s buried toward the back of the album), those fans should spend a little bit longer with it, and wait for the music to really reveal itself. Always Open Mouth is incredible. It’s passionate and creepy, and the moodiness is so thick it is almost tangible coming from the speakers. Recommended whole-heartedly as the soundtrack to loneliness and/or despair, it’ll drop jaws in amazement.

Recommended If You Like:
…I’ve never heard anything that sounds like this album… Recommended if you like excellent production and attention to detail.

Judge For Yourself:
www.myspace.com/fearbefore
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 52
08:45 AM on 03/11/09
#2
Greg.Kushlan
Ghostbusting makes me feel good
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One of my only problems with this album is I doubt Fear Before will ever be able to top it. I don't really care for Art Damage any more, it seems like this weird album that came out of nowhere compared to their first album and this. I'm slightly confused as to why David's singing on this album in the parts he does sing sound way better than on their new one.
09:02 AM on 03/11/09
#3
screamoURI
it feels like summer in october
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it took me a while to get into this record, but it finally clicked a few months into it. i'm finding the same is true for their new self titled record. stoked to see them at the end of april.
09:04 AM on 03/11/09
#4
popdisaster00
Two years is a long time to pretend
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This is easily one of my top 5 favorite cds of all time. I need this on vinyl too. Awesome review, I feel that they are really underappreciated on this site
09:09 AM on 03/11/09
#5
mybreakingpoint
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this is one of my favorite albums of all-time, glad you gave it such a good review, i know so many people who abhorr it.
09:36 AM on 03/11/09
#6
Shaved Goat
Come on feet, cruise for me
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Love this album, but I still can't get into the new one.
09:53 AM on 03/11/09
#7
airik625
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this is one of my favorite albums of all-time, glad you gave it such a good review, i know so many people who abhorr it.
Same here man. Love it.
10:33 AM on 03/11/09
#8
bradsonemanband
Change To Fire/Cootie Catcher
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i'll have to check this out. i think i did when it first came out, but i probably didn't give it much of a chance.
10:36 AM on 03/11/09
#9
mycuban
hermits.bandcamp.com
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This such a good record, i saw them play with Thursday in january 07 and i was not expecting to like them as much as i did, they were totally nice guys and this record is just great.
10:41 AM on 03/11/09
newfoundmichael
@SirDaveyBoy
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One of the best albums of the last decade in my opinion. Absolutely amazing.
10:44 AM on 03/11/09
zombie!pirate!
Regular Member
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soooo good live. Im so sure the new CD moved me as much as this one though
11:02 AM on 03/11/09
iamtaylorrr
it's just not quite the season
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One of my only problems with this album is I doubt Fear Before will ever be able to top it. I don't really care for Art Damage any more, it seems like this weird album that came out of nowhere compared to their first album and this. I'm slightly confused as to why David's singing on this album in the parts he does sing sound way better than on their new one.
This is my favorite album from Fear Before, and one of my favorite albums in general. It's crazy to hear them go from making songs like "Should Have Stayed In The Shallows" to a song like "Mouth." Though I can enjoy their entire catalog from front to back, the progression and experimentation they displayed on this album is unmatched by very few, and that's why it's most definitely a classic in my eyes.

And to what you said about Dave's singing, I can definitely see that even though I enjoyed his singing quite a bit on the Self-titled. Especially on "Get Your Life Together" and "Tycho."
11:03 AM on 03/11/09
-ben
Finally here.
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"buried towards the back of the album"?? The last four tracks are the best songs on the record as far as I'm concerned ("My (Fucking) Deer Hunter" - "A Gift for Fiction")
11:03 AM on 03/11/09
Kyle Thrash
https://twitter.com/thrash_itup
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one of my top favorite albums
11:04 AM on 03/11/09
-ben
Finally here.
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Also, the douple LP is crazy.
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