Like Moths To Flames - When We Don't Exist
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: November 8th, 2011
What do you think of when the Resident Evil film series comes to mind? Polished visual effects, edgy one liners, aggressive flairs, and everything that would normally be encompassed in gritty action movies. It's thrilling, it's gory, and for all intents and purposes, you may very well enjoy it, despite its many faults and the meandering execution that reveal just how run of the mill the films really are. So what?
Music can exhibit very similar characteristics. Case in point: The debut full length of Columbus, Ohio's Like Moths To Flames. The album, When We Don't Exist, features eleven tracks, with the intent of energizing the listener and sharing the defiant attitude that streams through every last song. Most know by now that if you're looking for anything new, you are in the wrong place. But if a highly animated and angry album is right up your alley, look no further.
Dark orchestration begins the album with the song "The Worst In Me." The mood set is already ominous and readies the listener for the abrasive guitar work that sets in shortly after. Unlike the Sweet Talker EP, there is a refined sound that is noticed immediately. Doubled Pod Farm guitar tones and layered screaming vocals are shot through, as vocalist Chris Roetter bitterly voices his frustration over the galloping kick of drummer Lance Greenfield who shines with spit fire rhythms. The track demonstrates a segmented guitar style that incorporates more alternative picking, illustrating an improved instrumentation that is painfully overshadowed by chugging breakdowns. Overall, a good glimpse of the album can be seen in this one song. There are sounds of promise with a talented drummer and better fret work.
Unfortunately, that's it. Promise, but little delivery. The lyrical complexity, or lack thereof, is evident in "GNF" which as the acronym hints deals with not caring, as noted when guest vocalist, Danny Leal of Upon A Burning Body, screams "I don't give a fuck about the way you're feeling." Of course with muted open note chugging and immature lyrics, Like Moths To Flames does little to distinguish themselves from a heavily saturated scene, especially blending with a generally mediocre roster Rise Records is infamous for. Tracks that especially become victim to this pitfall include "Your Existence", "Trophy Child", and "Real Talk", two of which are redone versions of tracks featured on their debut EP, and the lack of musical diversity is sorely apparent. The clean vocals, too, seemed to have regressed either by means of overproduction or by wear and tear on Roetter. The choruses sound lost and the voice, strained, as if Roetter was forcing a style that he hasn't fully developed. But the songs feature stimulating one line lyrics similar to that of "GNF" and low, stagnant breakdowns. Therefore, there is a flair that will appeal to the fan base and one that can translate into a dynamic show that requires any and all in the crowd to move. In a live setting, there would probably be little complaint, but, sadly, the music becomes repetitious and redundant on the album.
This double edged sword is somewhat diluted in the tracks "Faithless Living" and "No Hope" which work better for the band. The former's introduction emits a similarity to Bring Me The Horizon's "The Comedown" bringing an industrial tone to the song which helps disrupt the consistent breakdown pattern featured on the album. For a short time that is. Like previous songs, the track concludes with an unnecessary breakdown. "No Hope" allows the massive sound of Greenfield's kit, rolling in convulsions, to introduce the song and his skill shines brightly, alongside sliding guitar that again exhibit signs of progression, though not enough to break the mold.
"Praise Feeder" is another indication of this. But yet again, it brings musical advancement to the table only to be back tracked by a pointless breakdown. The song has the most defined chorus on the album and features its best guitar work, though it's still not anything genre bending. The drumming provides a stronger backbone than any other track, which allows it to flow cohesively (until the breakdown mid-song breaks its fluidity) as When We Don't Exist comes to an abrupt close.
Originality is becoming an increasingly harder game to play. Going back to my comparison of the Resident Evil film series, When We Don't Exist has everything you would expect from a metalcore album. It's everything you could glean from the cover, the label, and the name. Sure, some things are done better than others on the album and to the band's credit, there are things that contribute to a ‘throwdown’ style they maintain. However, as a whole, it serves as little more than a plethora of breakdowns. It's disappointing, really, because the talent can be clearly heard in various shining moments of When We Don't Exist, but these moments are drowned in a sea of average endeavor. Though enjoyable and fun at moments, the end result leads to an album that has been heard many times before. The course of wisdom for Like Moths To Flames would be to expand upon the improvements made in instrumentation and to develop stylistic diversity that confirms growth since Sweet Talker. But do not be surprised if the band doesn't take such action. When We Don't Exist solidly establishes a wider fan base and a foundation in stereotypical hardcore music. The quintet is quite comfortable with a sound shared by others but here's to hoping their second full length turns the tide. If not, we can be sure Like Moths To Flames will continue to heartily scream "I don't give a fuck!" Circle pits, rejoice.
What do you think of when the Resident Evil film series comes to mind? Polished visual effects, edgy one liners, aggressive flairs, and everything that would normally be encompassed in gritty action movies. It's thrilling, it's gory, and for all intensive purposes you may very well enjoy it, despite its many faults and the meandering execution that reveal just how run of the mill the films really are. So what?
At first I thought the beginning comparison was to the Resident Evil games, at which point I was about to get upset because RE4 is fantastic and amazing. However, your film critiques are accurate and so is this review!
The first demo they ever released "Dead Routine" had my hopes up for this band, but I have zero interest now. The Dead Routine on their last EP was much worse than the demo as well. It's a shame, Emarosa's This Is Your Way Out had such incredible vocals and lyrics. I don't think we'll ever hear anything that good from Roetter again.
good RE comparison and good review but this album is so generic that i would've given it close to a zero. completely forgettable, and seems it was made as a guilty pleasure, an instant gratification for breakdown junkies. i've come to stop expecting anything good from metalcore these days. if it doesn't come close to tdwp's dead throne or abr's leveler, i never come back to it. there are bands that are not oversaturating the scene with this senseless garbage (i.e. the bands mentioned prior) and this is an embarrassment. at least bands like transit, man overboard, a loss for words, and tdwp are doing all they can to redeem this label, but 75% of rise bands need to be dropped. rant over.
I like your central idea and comparison you use to form your critique. You have multiple errors in grammar and spelling though that detract from the quality and validity of your review. I would suggest rereading your review just for any errors or awkward sentence structure. It will make your review that much better. For example
Dark orchestration begins the album with the song "The Worst In Me."
This structure is just awkward. If you said something like, " 'The Worst In Me' begins the album with a dark sounding orchestration." I feel as if it would just be easier to read and have a better flow. I do not mean this in a condescending way, or to sound pompous or pretentious. Just some constructive criticism. I really like the reference to the Resident Evil films it was a great way to start the review. I have yet to listen to this album. I thought their debut was mediocre. The song You Won't Be Missed, although it lacks originality sounded pretty great for the genre. This song made me semi-excited for the album