Denver, Colorado’s FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES go all out with their most ambitious album to date in The Always Open Mouth. They’ve stripped themselves of all the BOTCH-worship and conventional metalcore-isms that were found on previous albums and have tried to carve their own niche. The vast majority of the spastic craziness and heaviness have been replaced by a progressive mindset, more subdued tempos and tones, and tons more experimentation. Much of The Always Open Mouth sound like it was largely inspired by RADIOHEAD, a little MOGWAI, perhaps a little MASSIVE ATTACK, as well as other like-minded mainstream rock bands, including a steady dosage of electronic sampling/instrumentation and somber pianos. The shouting/yelling vocals take a back seat to subdued clean vocals. The album was not meant to be enjoyed from the first riff on the first play as it takes quite a lot of patience and an open mind to really get what FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES have created here. While the band receive high marks for their effort and the scope of their ambition, the end result is a bit disjointed, not entirely fleshed out, and doesn’t quite deliver the goods. There are numerous parts and moments that hit the mark but they are largely outnumbered. If FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES can tie up the loose ends and sharpen up their execution, they could certainly deliver the powerful album that they seek. (Equal Vision Records)

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