“Let go of your idols to discover the unknown. When we leave this world, have to do it on our own. Pass the torch to be born again. Searching through the discord, swallowed by your sin.”
Metalcore is having somewhat of a renaissance in recent years. More and more genre-specific festivals are popping up while long-standing bands in the scene are jumping in with exciting new records. This Friday, For The Fallen Dreams put their mark on the modern era with their self-titled seventh LP. Coming from Arising Empire Records, For The Fallen Dreams boasts a classic metalcore backbone with elements of nu-metal, groove, and sludge sprinkled throughout an incredibly consistent 11-song track list. Check out the video below for the lead single “What If”, released back in June of last year.
For The Fallen Dreams wastes no time getting started. Opening track “Re-Animate” starts off with some glitchy static, a robotic voice states “Re-Animate”, then immediately a blood-curdling scream and driving guitar riffs pump out of the speakers. A soaring melody shimmers over the chorus and the song dances back and forth between the driving metalcore riffs and melody. “What If” and “Last One Out” both feature a touch of nu-metal rap vocal in the beginning of the songs, somewhat reminiscent of Linkin Park. “Last One Out” presents a deep sonic palate, with densely layered guitars shimmering and building throughout the song.
“Without You” slows it down just a touch, with a somber melody in the first leg of the song, before a retro guitar solo and heavy breakdown shatter the peace. My personal highlight on the album comes from the next song, “Testify”. In the last minute of the song, vocalist Chad Ruhlig’s growling mantra battles a thick guitar breakdown worthy of a festival-sized mosh pit:
There’s no turning back,
Pain, don’t believe it.
Im chained, couldn’t do it.
Before the fall,
Right before when there’s no turning back now.
Chained, I don’t need it.
Erased, couldn’t take it.
Before the fall, there’s no turning back now testify!”
The second half of the album progresses in much of the same way as the first half, with melodic moments crowded by furious outbursts of metalcore riffs and multi-tone screaming dynamics. For The Fallen Dreams took a giant leap in production quality on this record; the melodic moments glisten with enough space in the mix to draw the listener into the studio. Some moments are purposely dense and chaotic but all of the individual tracks come through clearly, allowing the listener to absorb every element on their own. The bass and drums are punchy without drowning out the low end while the overlaid melodic and screaming vocals never compete with each other.
Production-wise, one of the best moments on the record comes during the fade out on “Searching…”. Sure, a fade out is nothing new or creative, but when it is done perfectly like on this song, the listener can hear that final guitar groove loop on and on long after the song ends.
Coming in at under 40 minutes across 11 tracks, For The Fallen Dreams is very consistent in style and presentation and is compact enough to keep the listener coming back for repeated front to back listens. It’s hard to pick a song that stands out, as the band honed in on a style for their first record in five years and stayed true front to back. This ends up being my main criticism of the record as well. It’s tough to distinguish many of these songs from each other. Song structure and delivery of the vocal arrangements is so consistent from track to track that they tend to blend together at times. The album is short enough that some interludes, and maybe even a fully melodic song would do wonders to break the album into sections and diversify the palate a bit.
For The Fallen Dreams has a rather complex band history. Over their 20 year career, the band has seen a total of 30 different musicians, with many of them having very short tenures in the group. Jim Hocking and Chad Ruhlig are the only original members with Damon Austen Tate, Marc Esses, and Kalan Blehm rounding out the current lineup.
The choice of a self-titled album is always interesting, especially with a band with such turnover. When asked why they chose now to put that label on their new record, Chad replies, “This is a new era of For The Fallen Dreams and we’re embracing that statement with our heads held high!” That sentiment echoes how much of the music scene feels right now. We are entering a new era post-pandemic, both in the industrial landscape as well as all of us personally. We need to shake loose what held us back in the past and drive forward with conviction in what makes us all happy. For The Fallen Dreams embraces this, and drives that home with one of the finest metalcore records in years.
Stream it? Buy it? Skip it? Buy it. The band delivers a well-crafted evolution for the modern genre worthy of your collection, especially on the ‘Corona’ vinyl variant.