Release DetailsLABEL Thorp Records
RELEASED ON 9/14/2004
Dance Pretend Forget Defend
posted on 12/2004 By:
I thought this Detroit band’s debut album Breathing is Only Half the Function, was overly complex and forced the intricate harmonies way to much on the way to an overzealous metalcore/emocore Shai Hulud wanna be. However, now Shai Hulud is defunct, it seems Fordirelifesake would be the logical heirs to the throne of ‘metalcorechestration”. Not so fast. If I were a betting man I would have also pegged FDLS to make the predictable jump to commercial-core a la Cave In, Hopesfall and Codeseven. In truth this album is somewhere in between.
Silly name aside, Dance Pretend, Forget Defend is the perfect album to slide nicely between your Shai Hulud or Misery Signals and your Further Seems Forever or Thursday albums as it mixes equal parts of overzealous, ridiculously intricate layered metalcore harmonies along with quirky, rock/emo commercial elements, and in actuality makes for a surprisingly refreshing and accessible but sometimes overwrought album. Admittedly, the formula is somewhat eye rolling to the casual fan sick of this style of metal, but Fordirelifesake actually command far more than a casual listen, first due to their outrageously complex melodies and their subtle nu age laced emo metal, that actually comes across as wistfully evocative and viably enjoyable. That’s not to say the album isn’t drenched with clichés; the introduction of violins, cellos, and female vocals though adding a somber character, comes across as a forced attempt to redo From Autumn to Ashes’ “Short Stories With Tragic Endings” album wide (especially “Circles and Cycles”), while the injections of programmed beats and interludes are a welcome break from the often overbearing melody overload, seem more robotic and forced than the organics of the cellos and violins, and as a result they clash, segmenting the album somewhat.
The moments FDLS do careen into one of their vastly elaborate harmonies, it is rather impressive and not easy to absorb upon the first listen as they initially come across as sheer staccato chaos, but further listening to tracks like “Recover”, “Dependent on Attention”, “Ammunition for your Conversation” or “Twenty Two Minutes Defends Twenty Two Years” require in depth, active listening to absorb every swirling, sublime note. On the flipside, the frequent incursions into more progressive/ commercial territory such as the contrived male/female ballad “We are the Company we Keep”, the grating instrumental title track or the spacey “From Tragedy to Imaginary”, you actually find your self longing for the melodic vortexes to return.
Thankfully the vocals of Matthew Wedge keep pretty harsh, albeit with the odd whiny injection, but the female vocals of Kara Dubuy do add a sense of grace to the vocal interplay. The production is surprisingly muddy for the style, instead of being crisp and clear, but it does have a unique sound that isn't the usual Tue Madsen or Zeus laden bottom end. I guess I should mention the ‘different’ over of Nine Inch Nails’ “March of the Pigs” which to the bands credit isn’t simply a note for note rendition of the original.
Dance, Pretend, Forget, Defend has some intriguing moments that are hampered by some over adventurous elements that dampen some of the albums truly breathtaking sections that will no doubt please those lamenting the demise of Shai Hulud, but will also throw them for somewhat of a loop at times.
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