From Autumn To Ashes

Holding The Wolf By The Ears

Written by: PP on 17/04/2007 16:05:06

It's been a little over a month now since the release of From Autumn To Ashes' "These Speakers Don't Always Speak The Truth" EP, but the bombastic two songs it had on it haven't reduced in value much since, fuelling anticipation for the album that wasn't meant to have any. The two songs foreshadowed a great return to form from the band, and almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy, "Holding The Wolf By The Ears" (great title by the way) is an amazing piece of pure screamo, most definitely the best screamo album to have been released since UnderOATH's "Define The Great Line" last year.

Ben being replaced by drummer Francis as the frontman and vocalist of the band has blown a ton of fresh air in FATA's music. Where they sounded forced on "Abandon Your Friends", here they sound fresh, full of the same kind of youthful innocence and melody you heard on the Senses Fail EP "From Depths Of Dreams". Take "Daylight Savings", for instance, where Francis uses more clean vocals than ever heard before on a FATA album. The chorus is catchy and fresh, and Francis' high wails make it comparable to the effect "Free Falling Without Parachutes" had on me by the aforementioned Senses Fail. By contrast, "Everything I Need" has the energy and the passion, and Fran's howling croons of "I have everything I need" are full of desperation-filled passion, and will no doubt generate sick mosh pits live.

"Sensory Depriviation Adventure", another highlight on the album, blending melody with aggression seemlessly. It opens with in your face screaming and crooning, before it slows down and beautiful clean vocals replace the screaming, guaranteeing the song to stick to your mind for weeks. The band has never sounded this fresh and full of renewed energy and talent as on this song, the instrumentals are intense but yet Fran and the backup vocalists have plenty of space to spread their voices and work the scream/clean dynamic.

"Deth Kult Social Club" is still as in-your-face as on the EP, and "On The Offensive" follows it with similar speed and aggression. FATA's truly got the ABC of scream/clean contrast covered here like on the whole album, with tight screaming contrasted by spacey and gloomy clean singing at all the right places.

Perhaps "Holding The Wolf By The Ears" doesn't have as dynamic screams or as spacey instrumentals as their previous works, but the new tighter style works better overall. The songs are much catchier without sacrificing any fierceness, and Fran's talent is used much more effectively as the frontman than as the drummer helping out with background vocals. But lets be honest here. If you weren't a fan of this whole melodic guitars, throaty screams/scream your lungs out kind of thing, "Holding The Wolf By The Ears" isn't going to convert you. And even the most dedicated fans will find that because the screamo genre has been explored from every thinkable angle in this decade, these songs won't have much lasting value either, which is a problem plaguing a large part of the genre. In many aspects, "Holding.." is an album full of clichés, but clichés in a good way. It has everything your favorite screamo album has and more, but that won't keep you listening to it for months and months in a row. It's one of those albums you enjoy for a few weeks, then take it off your CD player, and return to it months later to re-discover how good it actually is. Could this be the final attempt by the stagnating genre to win over new fans?


Download: Daylight Saving, Sensory Depreviation Adventure
For the fans of: Senses Fail, UnderOATH, Emery
Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.04.2007

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