From A Second Story Window

You’ve got to give FASSW some credit for trying something a bit new here. After the incredibly heavy debut EP, Not One Word Has Been Omitted, the Ohio act had a bit of a line up change with vocalist Will Jackson coming over from St. Louis act End Of All and bringing with him a deep, deep lyrical concept and more adventurous vocal with Delenda, the band first full length album, and its an ambitious effort. Maybe too ambitious.

The band still plies a form of chaotic, angular, dissonant metalcore with a hefty low end and dual vocals (though not as guttural as Sean Vandergrift), but the band’s spastic sound is now rife with experimentation and a more cerebral approach that isn’t as immediately heavy as the debut EP and takes even more time to absorb. Where the debut was a completely devastating wall of sound, Delenda is more chaotic and discordant and throws in far more ‘clean’ segues both musically and vocally. Will Jackson’s singing voice is utilized more than the music to present more peaceful moments amid the jagged and layered fusion of turbulent, unpredictable noise and surprising, buried harmonies. The thing is though, it often sounds a bit disjointed and forced.

Relying far less on the breakdown Delenda stutters and squeals with more eclectic abandon, far more so than the EP and the conceptual backdrop allows for more tangents such as opener “Acknowledgment” and most notably the cringe inducing “Ghosts Over Japan”. There are a few brief moments of concentrated girth such as “Soft Green Fields (Expired Terra Coffins)”, “Oracles and Doorsteps” and “The Crusher” but they don’t last long before being expunged by the band’s distorted cacophony or a unexpected tangent. For example, the subtle melody and clean climax of “A Piece of History Written in English” cries to be fleshed out and developed more, but instead, the track is cut short and dives into the dissonant screech of “Dark Waters of Thought”, which in turn has its own promising melody lines cut short. It’s almost frustrating.

At their best, (“Oracles and Doorsteps”, “The Crusher”, “These Lights Above Us”) FASSW are a dizzyingly skilled band, but a their worst (“For Those Once Lost”, “Ghosts Over Japan”, the ovrwrought “Mourning For Mourning”) FASSW are directionless and over ambitious and the dichotomous end result is that I’ve been giving albums by Nights Like These, The Demonstration and Harlots far more attention than Delenda. Which is a shame as potentially, FASSW have the ability to be really, really special, if they would just settle down a bit.

Delenda is still a solid record, definitely for fans of the genre, but Blackmarket Activities/Metal Blade’s press sheet sums it up perfectly; “Delenda is ready to be heard by the world…lets hope the world understands”. I am not sure they will….

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 11th, 2006


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