One of the most impressive things about Fear Before The March Of Flames’ newest album, The Always Open Mouth, [Equal Vision Records] is how much this band has grown and evolved from their older stuff (which was quite good in its own right). Even the artwork challenges the listener: The album has a beautifully strange plastic overlapping cover --a view of skyscrapers, but no obvious lyrics. But take the CD out of the case and open up the white part where the CD sits, and you’ll find a hidden lyric booklet. The album has received mixed feedback and seems to be either a love-it or hate-it kind of deal.
FBTMOF began as a band in the hardcore/indie genre. After a couple member changes and additions, and three albums of practice to get things right, they have definitely found their sound. That being said, however, The Always Open Mouth cannot be limited to just one genre. They still have a plenty heavy side, but are also experimenting with a lot of electronic samples. Perhaps “My (Fucking) Deer Hunter,” best illustrates their newer, experimental sound, but songs like “Drowning the Old Hag” still show hammer us with the older sound of FBTMOF. This album should not be judged by the first listen and is one to sit with, think about, and enjoy in all kinds of moods and environments. One of the best albums of this year.