I’m good with going out on this band’s best overall release. Yup.
At the end of the first month, I wrote about the group’s debut, Odd How People Shake, and also relayed the story of the time I paid $8 not to see Fear Before the March of Flames. Touchy, “act of God”-related subject. Bummer city.
But I also wrote about the advertising for their last release as March of Flames. I don’t know how else to set it up, so have a gander:
Surely you remember Danny the Tourette’s guy. Not sure that this statement holds water, but I recall him being one of the early YouTube sensations when the video sharing empire-to-be launched right around the time I graduated high school in 2005. Hard to believe its ubiquity in just 8 years – or the fact that it’s only been around less than a decade.
Anyway, The Always Open Mouth came out in 2006, right around the time before Danny’s 9 minutes of internet fame and fortune dissipated into the ether. That’s when I knew there had been a shift in the Internet. There was something so twisted and bizarre about an Internet sensation hawking records for a Colorado-based experimental mathcore band.
Thankfully, it’s a damn fine record. I’d rue the day Danny decided it’d be okay to strut for, I don’t know, Midtown.
Always Open Mouth is front-to-back a super solid release. Even at its low points, the record takes on a sinister patience, the group bending and manipulating the genre to their will. It’s their most complete album, bar none, and has held up well over time, as it’s now been 7+ years since it was unleashed.
After a brief interludey opening track, “Drowning the Old Hag” jumps off with abrasive, angular guitars and fuzzy electronics. Dual vocalists Adam Fisher and David Marion play tall, gravel-voiced cop-short shrieky cop much in the same way as Johnny Whitney and Jordan Blilie in The Blood Brothers. Pretty common game these days, it would seem.
From there on out, for a full 15 tracks, Fear Before assault and satisfy. Always Open Mouth, for me, extends into the category of being experimental but exciting. I felt like the parts of my brain that reach out with some level of understanding about heavy, mathcore-influenced music have been expanded by this band.
This album is in rare form. While I can’t even begin to touch the drug-addled lyrics with any sort of grace or tact, I can speak to the fact that the electronics and samples and key effects put this record over the top.
I’m in the camp that believes it takes much more now than just simply being heavy or playing in funny time signatures or having two vocalists to be different and set apart. It takes either genuine skill (or supreme marketing – looking at you, Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire) to make a difference in whatever subgenre is your poison. And if Adam Fisher’s done anything with his newer project All Human, it’s that he proved his success and influence on Fear Before’s sound was one of skill and not fluke.
I miss this band a lot, but I’m glad they put out the records they did, when they did.
From The Always Open Mouth, this is “Drowning the Old Hag” –
Standout tracks: “Mouth,” “Taking Cassandra To The End Of The World Party,” “Dog Sized Bird,” “Lycanthropy,” and “A Brief Tutorial in Bacchanalia”
Weakest track: Not really, no. The build-up to that incredible breakdown at the end of “A Gift For Fiction” isn’t my favorite, but once the waves crash down, it’s worth it.
RIYL: Experimental post-hardcore, mathcore. Converge, The Blood Brothers, Botch.