After four long years, the Michigan metal-core band For The Fallen Dreams are back with their long-awaited album Six. Over ten tracks, the band deliver their promise of having “something for everyone on this record”, although this does involve a slight compromise between their tried and tested sound and a new exploration of lighter electronic and melodic vibes.
Opening with the most melodic track ‘Stone’, the band demonstrates a melodic focus, which isn’t found on most of the band’s previous records. The merging of the band’s classic energetic vocals with slower, simplified sections with and some experimental electronic elements at the start, makes ‘Stone’ the most polished sounding track on the entire album. The imagery of stones is carried forward into the lyrics of the second song ‘The Undertow’, which introduces a slightly darker tone; both in terms of content and through the use of a higher intensity screaming in the vocals.
“Focus on distorted, powerful vocals”
The majority of the album seems to focus on themes of perseverance and strength, with songs like ‘Unstoppable’ conveying an oddly optimistic message within the signature angry and powerful tone of metal-core. Whilst the song contains a bit too much throaty growling and screaming, the lyrical content is far more engaging than one might expect to find within this genre. The focus on distorted, powerful vocals is not necessarily a bad thing, as this does encourage the listener to connect to the raw emotion of the music.
The music video for the track ‘Stones’ was met with mixed reactions from the band’s original fanbase, suggesting that their primary audience will always be torn between an appreciation for an exploration into new sounds and vibes within metal-core, and wanting the same heavy death-core vibes as the band’s popular first album Changes (2008).
“Some of the higher energy songs can sound rather similar”
As someone with relatively little experience with metal-core, some of the heavier, scream based tracks seemed inaccessible. To an untrained ear, the vocals on more intense tracks like ‘Ten Years’ often dissolve into a cacophony of raw energy. Some of the higher energy songs can sound rather similar, which could suggest that the variation between some tracks is not great enough to make them memorable for first-time listeners.
The band’s main aim for this album seems to be to produce a record that can be “enjoyed by new and old fans alike”. The harsh vocals on heavier tracks like ‘Two Graves’, ‘Hypnosis’, and ‘Ten Years’ sound closest to the band’s previous work. This contrasts with the lyrical elements on the slower and more heartfelt song ‘Void’ creating more of a melodic punk vibe than seen across the rest of the album; an element which I personally found more engaging as a non-metal fan. Tracks like this may appeal to a newer audience, but might not completely satisfy both old and new fans simultaneously.
Although the album isn’t entirely cohesive, For the Fallen Dreams successfully introduce new musical elements and techniques into their classic, melodic metal-core sound in their 6th album Six, resulting in one of their most diverse and interesting albums to date.
Image Courtesy of For The Fallen Dreams Official Facebook Page