Three albums into their career and Fear Before The March Of Flames have practically released three albums from three different bands. Tongues will surely wag as to whether the group are trying to jump the shark here and escape the spazzy metalcore stylings that populated their last outing, "Art Damage". But even if their chosen career maneuvers suggest foresight, the group have publicly stood by their need to evolve and "The Always Open Mouth" sees them doing just that.
A dreary melodic haze quickly sets in as the band take a contrastingly loose approach to dense songwriting that generally has no immediate payoff. Some may be quick to compare it's atmospheric nature to the change of pace the Deftones took with "White Pony", as the group now liberally explore sonic ambiance and haunting melodies. Such a comparison is somewhat fitting, but there are still elements of the bands more aggressive past on hand here.
However, by stripping away the erratic and overbearing metalcore approach of past efforts, the band reveal an crafty sinewy core that can at times resemble The Bronx and The Blood Brothers - that is if they were raised in museums full of fine abstract art. That's not saying that Fear Before The March Of Flames have gone highbrow though, far from it.
They've just managed to shed the sheepish clothing worn on past efforts and now offer themselves far less cliches to hide behind. This vulnerability is endearing for the most part, though not entirely representative of the bands latest incarnation. You'll still experience some pulsating dull roars of aggression in the vein of Coalesce and their ilk.
Alas though, even with a respectable turnaround in their musical direction, this album still tends to drag along as the band often put themselves under a high-powered microscope and painstakingly overanalyze. That said, while there are moments of stilted development, "The Always Open Mouth" is an album that innovates, and thus, is better than about 98% of what their peers put out this year. Basically, it has all the depth and the substance, but comes up short in the momentum department.
(3.5 / 5)