Release DetailsLABEL Metal Blade Records
RELEASED ON 10/19/2004
From A Second Story Window
Not One Word Has Been Omitted
posted on 11/2004 By:
Due to a licensing/distribution deal between Metal Blade and Black Market Activities, the recent releases from the roster of Black Market Activities (run by The Red Chord’s Adam Wentworth and Guy Kozowyk) has been re-issued and given a far wider distribution. This now means the small label's roster of fine bands is readily available and that’s a good thing, as bands like Deadwater Drowning, Psyopus, Backstabbers Inc., Found Dead Hanging and From A Second Story Window can get some well deserved recognition.
FASSW is in my opinion, the label’s best band, not only due to one of the most devastating productions I’ve ever been subjected to, but also due to an astute mix of hardcore and utterly crushing death metal. Label mates Deadwater Drowning, With Dead Hands Rising, and Dead to Fall have already done this dual style with solid results even though they received mixed responses from metalcore drenched fans. The big difference is that FASSW do it with a complete and utter swathe of sonic destruction more comparable to The Red Chord with a little less choppiness and more death metal girth. This savage little 5 song EP is 31 minutes long, so you get a lot for an EP (a rarity in metal/hardcore), and contained within the five songs are some of the better moments from the genre that I’ve heard in quite a while, and considering the glut of metal/hardcore coming my way, that’s no mean feat.
Vocalist Sean Vandergrift has the requisite metalcore scream along with an alternate deep bellow, as guttural as any death metal or grindcore, that is usually delivered to back the EP’s many lumbering moments of sheer heaviness. Of course, much of the material is dissonant, discordant and spastic, but it seems to hum with a menacing, directed purpose rather than unfocused sheer chaos. My only gripe is that FASSW seem to play themselves out of many crushing moments a little too quickly and revert to spazzed out chaos'core. Actually, that might be a good thing considering the immense weight of many of the breakdowns, as they are some of the heaviest around, your speakers may be glad they don’t last too long.
From the immediate blistering opening salvo of “The Challenge of Caring” through the vast mid section of “I Tried Voodoo Once”, to the epic 9-minute discourse of ‘Vespers” (one of the most complete and brilliant songs of this style to grace my ears), FASSW deliver everything they should, and prove despite the genres saturation, there’s some major clout left. Minor quibbles are only the clichéd use of quiet introspective moments to offset the carnage, and the strangely forced melodies and controlled harmonics that start the otherwise ruinous “How London Got its Fog”; not a bad track, in fact it’s rather hypnotic, it just feels out of place considering the rest of the EP’s sheer brutality.
Most listeners may pass this off as yet another needless hardcore/death metal crossover, but for me, this is one of the better examples I’ve heard within a no doubt over populated genre, and regardless of stylistic pigeon holing, is one of the heaviest pieces of intelligent music I've heard in recent time.
Thanks Metal Blade.
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