(Nuclear Blast Records)
The word “brutal” has basically become a cliché term in the metalcore scene, however, when you hit play on the latest For Today album, Wake, it is the first word that comes to mind. The lyrics are darker, the tuning is lower, and the vocals are heavier than ever, both in range and emotion. As For Today really wanted to evolve their sound to something more genuine, they seem to have fully accomplished it by adding relatable sentiment and tangibility to their latest release.
Opening with the track “No Truth No Sacrifice,” the listener is instantly plunged into an almost revolutionary call to awareness with a musical backbone to support the blunt words being screamed. “Sickness in the selfishness” rings in repetition banking heavily on the forcefulness, yet oddly poetic nature, of Mattie Montgomery’s unclean vocals.
This almost spoken word plead for action continues with tracks like “Deserter,” which rest on a blended duality between the melodic quasi-80s metal guitar riffs and the chugging vocals laid over them. “Deserter,” as with the chorus on the single “Broken Lens,” uphold some of the catchiest choruses on the album without being overly pop rock, thus giving it a nice double-edge feel.
While emotions run audibly deep throughout this record, “Bitter Roots” takes the cake. Taking a break from the anger and frustration produced in tracks like “Forced Into Fire” and “Determination,” “Bitter Roots” plays more on a subtle sadness building up some very well developed clean vocal melodies slowly transitioning into a much heavier, unclean finale.
There’s definitely growth presented on this record, however, Wake does fall short towards the record’s conclusion. Coming out with some really hard-hitters in the foreground, closing tracks like “Time and Tide” and “Flooded Earth” seem to fall to the wayside and feel more like filler than actual efforts in comparison to such a strong beginning. As stand-alones the tracks are fine, but they don’t read well as anchors to such a complex opening.
As For Today is a band typically known for their blatantly Christian lyrics, this record took a turn in a slightly different direction. Rather than preaching directly from doctrine, this record stems from the core of the band members’ actual emotions and experiences and reflects well both in the strong lyrical content as well as nicely laid out and dynamic instrumentals. New sonic directions are typically hard to uphold, but For Today transitions flawlessly with Wake creating one of the most brutal records they’ve released to date.
(Natasha Van Duser)