As beginning music fans, we were drawn to young teen music, such as groups like the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and Britney Spears. Many years later, with our music knowledge building up on these foundations, we realize our musical tastes have broadened for the better. We can call ourselves fans of rock, pop, jazz, classical, blues, country and recently heavy metal. Metal music took the longest to diffuse through our not so porous music boundaries. Yes, we have mentioned many genres we liked, but that doesn’t mean each of them got through without thorough contemplation.
We must admit that we didn’t always understand heavy metal music; we just didn’t see the appeal. Having believed music was felt mostly by the lyrics of the tune, we saw ourselves disconnected from heavy metal largely due to this inability to sing along. This notion began to wither when we started listening to various heavy metal songs and quickly heard how contrived the melodies were along with the significance of the timing of the vocals.
So, we are going to kick off our new appreciation for heavy metal with the band, For The Fallen Dreams, who released their third full-length album, ‘Back Burner’, on May 24th via Rise Records. The quintet consists of vocalist, Dylan Richter, guitarist, Jim Hocking, guitarist, Chris Cain, bassist, Joe Ellis and drummer, Andrew Tkaczyk. The Michigan metalcore band released their debut album, ‘Changes’, back in 2008 and their sophomore album, ‘Relentless’, dropped in 2009. Experience is a trait this band wholeheartedly possesses and their heavy metal authenticity runs through their dark and twisted core.
The first track off of ‘Back Burner’, “Say What You Will,” was the ideal tune for us newbies to hear right off the bat. As the intricate instrumental sounds began, we felt the metal dripping over our musical souls and had no desire to clean the mess up. The tune’s melody built up perfectly with simpler rhythms combining with jarring heavy metal beats and brash vocals. The unpredictability of “Say What You Will” also drew us in by making us feel we were actually living on the edge without having to do any daredevil stunts. The impulsiveness ran throughout the vocals as they continuously switched from aggressive and loud sounds to those more alternative sounding. See, all it takes is a good breaking the musical barrier tune to make metal music sound less frightening and more inviting.
Feeling better acquainted with metal music, we began to cruise throughout ‘Back Burner’ with a tormented expression on our face. This troublesome look, at first, was just a way for us to try to better unite with the genre’s sound or we must admit, it could have possibly even been our way of showing others what badass music we were listening to. Whatever the initial intentions were, once we reached the track, “Only Unopened Arms,” our raging expression came naturally with no intended purpose. The tune’s vocals radiate as heavy metal and alternative rock intertwine. Both genres are on the edgier side, but the two still sound entirely different from each other. With this vocal blend, For The Fallen Dreams proves nothing is too taxing for them to master. The less striking vocals, those of rock, are able to hold their own against the metal sound and further carry the catchy melody of the track.
Delighted might not be the best suited word for describing this genre, but coming from a small heavy metal background, we have been very pleased with the category’s strength, both vocally and instrumentally. The track, “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In” covers the latter’s strength. The abruptness of the changing tempos gets our adrenaline pumping and we find ourselves wanting to join in with those mosh pits we tend to avoid at shows. The mix of rock and metal vocals transcends into the instrumental beats in this tune and brings the heavy metal genre and the album full circle.
We can proudly say or even scream that heavy metal finally clicks. We get it. It is not a genre to pass on by, even if you are not “hardcore” enough for it. Heavy metal offers an outlet to safely express your daily angst and gives you a friend to confide in, judgment free. We don’t know, For The Fallen Dreams personally, but if ‘Back Burner’ had eyes, the group would see our hair flipping as it unmasked our unsettling and at times, ugly, facial expression. So, we guess the saying is true, a friend definitely sees you at your worst.
by Lonnie Nemiroff