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Fear Before The March Of Flames
The Always Open Mouth
Equal Vision Records

What is going on in Denver, Colorado that is causing the mile high city to give birth to a prolific amount of screamo/metal bands emerging from the city's picturesque vistas and snowcap mountains? Fear Before The March Of Flames, who formed in the Denver area in 2002, is one of the latest additions to the class of screamo/metal cobblers like Caustic Soul and Murder In Memphis. Bandmates David Marion (vocalist), Adam Fisher (guitarist/vocalist), Michael Madruga (bassist), Zach "Bink" Hutchings (guitarist), Billy Johnson (guitarist/keyboardist) and Clayton "Goose" Holyoak (drummer) have released their third album The Always Open Mouth, following their debut outing Odd How People Shake from 2003, and 2004's Art Damage. Their current release, produced by Bobby Darling, dives into screamo/metal fonts with the same ferocity as their debut, but add variables of Goth rock, some hard knocks punk and industrial strength guitar crunches.

Fear Before The March Of Flames, who owes their name to a headline they saw in one of their hometown's major newspapers (Denver Post or Rocky Mountain News) describing a 2002 Colorado brushfire, converge a diversity of solubles on their album with metal tinged flusters reminiscent of These Arms Are Snakes, Goth-induced tussles akin to Kittie, and punk jolts reflective of Strike Anywhere. The album begins with a prelude of tender streaming guitar and keyboard notes pleated by light drum strikes on "Absolute Future." It's the calm before the storm as the album plunges into the hard hitting screamo vocals and abrasive intervals of "Drowning The Old Hag." The band has a knack for colloquial-phrased titles like "Old Hag," "As A Result Of Signals Being Crossed," "A Brief Tutorial In Bachanalia," "Complete And Utter Confusion," and "High As A Horse."

"Taking Cassandra To The End Of The World Party" is the most cinematic tune on the album with amplified guitar shards, engorged sound waves enveloping the vocals, and haunting Gothic casts shadowing the verses. "Ten Seconds In Los Angeles" has alternate vocal shapes - from howling out to hollowing in with a Henry Rollins-jagged pinch. The layers of instrument parts on "The Waiting Makes Me Curious" creates monolithic walls of sound waves bombarded by rams of struggling vocals. "High As A Horse" delivers narrative vocals that dip in and out of the metal grinds and theatrical scores. The punk influences on the song enhance the metalcore movements, the echoing vocals and the cavernous guitar tones. The music is so intense it feels like it is coming out of the 10th level of Hell.

The industrial rock drones on "Dog Sized Bird" have reflections of Between The Buried And Me and Lamb Of God. Fear Before The Marching Of Flames movements recede and thrash through their sections like on the number "My (F*@king) Deer Hunter." The bold metal nodes withdraw during the docile bass and keyboard sequences creating a soft spread pervaded by thrashing vocal and instrument segments. The album concludes with Goth-shaded instrument grazes and throaty screamo vocals on "A Gift For Fiction" and "Absolute Past."

Fear Before The March Of Flames is presently on tour with Norma Jean and Between The Buried And Me. Their album keeps in the metalcore hemisphere but they show strength in doing theatrical pieces on par with Rob Zombie and Cradle Of Filth. Their metal has a companionship with theatrics, at least on this album.

-Susan Frances

Track Listing:
1. Absolute Future
2. Drowning The Old Hag
3. Mouth
4. Taking Cassandra To The End Of The World Party
5. Ten Seconds In Los Angeles
6. The Waiting Makes Me Curious
7. High As A Horse
8. Dog Sized Bird
9. Complete And Utter Confusion
10. As A Result Of Signals Being Crossed
11. My (F*@king) Deer Hunter
12. Lycanthropy
13. A Brief Tutorial In Bachanalia (Cigarettes As Currency)
14. A Gift For Fiction
15. Absolute Past

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