Fear My Thoughts
Vitriol

The U.S. has seen the melodic metal/hardcore mix blossom into a small musical renaissance, so it comes as no surprise than as with most musical phenomena, Europe follows suite, which is actually a reverse in trends, as the U.S. is normally the one a few years behind. So, here come Germany’s FearMyThoughts, with their second full-length album riding hard the current U.S. bandwagon of melodi-death-core, in the vein of Dead to Fall, Unearth, Evergreen Terrance and countless others. It contains all the requisites that have been laid down by the swarm of U.S. bands; breakdowns, sharp dual guitars, a slight sense of Swedish melody and hardcore vocals.

However, where FearMyThoughts are a little different from the horde, is the inclusion of some very haunting David Fincher (Aliens III, Seven) soundscapes, samples and interludes. Add to that, the music itself also has a far darker, creepy vibe (maybe from their inherent Rammstein/German heritage), and some more emotional structures more akin to From Autumn to Ashes, and you have something that sounds familiar without completely retreading new ground. The songs are far less immediate than many of their U.S. peers, they are drawn out, deep, and the melody teeters on a psychotic ambience rather than short bursts of fist-raising anthems and mosh-friendly breakdowns. It starts with a brief intro called “Aponia” that sets the listener up for an oncoming industrial assault, with various buzzing samples, spoken words and haunting piano line – very unorthodox, but effective. Then the nearly seven minute “6 Billion Mirrors” dances from the speakers with more traditional dual attack guitar harmonies, but soon reverts to a more Teutonic thrash-inspired outing. It also includes some very discordant, reverb-laced guitar work that’s off-putting yet powerful, but all of a sudden it breaks into one of the many acoustic/atmospheric soundscapes, which set this album apart. Even when the guitars do kick in, they are lamenting and grating at the same time. This song in itself displays FearMyThoughts’ otherworldly grasp of hardcore and how to not be predictable. Add to that, the effective violin use, and it essentially breaks the mold for what hardcore traditionally stands for. And that’s just the first song.

The more traditional “A New Enlightenment Must Come to Find Out What Matters” follows with more by-the-numbers emotive hardcore, but with Unearth-like intricacies and structures. Another eerie interlude in the form of “Ataraxia” then flows into “Nothing That Could Be Compared”. This song is a stunning display of varying tempos and emotions that frankly was slightly unsettling, strange for a song to effect me emotionally in this way. It’s constantly unpredictable, morphing and shifting from string-backed dirge to more expected galloping melodies and heartfelt vocals – as psychologically effective as I’ve heard in a long time across all genres. Of course, trying to follow that mammoth song up is a pointless task, but “As I Bleed” offers seven minutes of more high quality, sonically disturbing aggressive discordance. Not as sublimely effective as the prior song, it’s more of an aural mugging; not really subtle or evocative, just painful. It also shows FearMyThoughts’ album long resistance to be sucked into the world of “whisper/shout, leave the ground” breakdowns. It does end though with two minutes of more traumatizing samples.

After such a gushing review so far, it then should come as no surprise, then album ends a rather down note. After the challenging efforts of the prior songs FearMyThoughts decide to close with what I can consider a joke song that while is a traditional heavy metal homage of sorts, paying respects to Priest, Maiden and others. It simply left me scratching my head in dumbfounded confusion. Add the odd hidden track that consists of gruff yelling, that I can only attribute to German humor, and it comes close to wiping out the brilliance of the actual material. My only other gripe is the length; with only four real songs as such, this could almost be a mini-album, and I simply was left wanting more. I had no real issues with the production; it wasn’t the cliched chunky bass heavy hardcore sound, but edgier and gritty.

FearMyThoughts is a surprisingly good European entry into the U.S. dominated hardcore arena, and it easily shows up the lethargic and predictable rambling of Shattered Realm or Until The End. The inclusion of genre bending, unsettling elements and emotional structures, easily make it a release that puts them close to Unearth for sheer quality, and one to keep a close, tear-encrusted eye on.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 23rd, 2002

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