Sunday, September 23, 2012

For all those Sleeping - Outspoken

When I go through the screamo genre looking to see what newer bands there are, my main goal is to find the diamond in the rough. I’m always looking for that one screamo band that’s not only different, but striving to either improve or expand the genre. Of course, as many of you know, those kinds of bands are much more difficult to come by than ever before. When you look through the majority of the screamo albums I’ve reviewed, I typically only focus on the really different albums; they’re either really good, really bad, or just different/unique. And every once in a while, I like to keep my mind in-tune by reviewing an album that I DON’T consider to be unique and different. Which is why I’m now going to introduce you to one of the newer screamo bands out there: For all those Sleeping.

If you didn’t get my message already: DO NOT EXPECT ANYTHING NEW FROM THESE GUYS. There is absolutely nothing in this entire fucking record that hasn’t been done millions of times before by other generic trendy screamo bands that put most of their emphasis on crushing and simple breakdowns and implementing keyboards into pop punk-sounding interludes with corny singing. Of course, there are some bands that do this better than most, like I See Stars, Asking Alexandria, and Attack Attack!’s first and third album. I came across For all those Sleeping when I was browsing through the Fearless Records band roster in order to further familiarize myself with the label. For those of you that aren’t aware of Fearless Records, they’ve been home to several emo, pop punk, rock, screamo, and metalcore bands over the years. Some of these include better bands like Alesana, blessthefall, A Static Lullaby, The Word Alive, and some mediocre (but unique) bands like Tonight Alive, A Skylit Drive, Artist vs. Poet, and Go Radio.

Even though it’s more than apparent that there is an extremely large amount of screamo bands that put WAY too much emphasis and dependence on breakdowns, there aren’t many that are as open and honest about it as For all those Sleeping. That’s something that I could go on about for hours, but that’s a topic that can be applied to so many different bands that it’s virtually meaningless to write about it in every review of an album that has that problem. So I’m not going to ramble on about that now that I’ve at least gotten the message out there that this album is very focused on SIMPLE breakdowns.

When you listen to the single off the album (at least I think it’s the single), Mark My Words, you get the feeling of a much heavier screamo band than you may be used to. But first impressions are often deceiving, because by the time this song is half over, you start thinking to yourself “what benefit am I getting out of listening to these guys as opposed to tons of other EXTREMELY similar bands?” That’s what I was saying to myself every other song while listening to this album. There’s just nothing special about these guys at all! I can listen to Life Cycles by The Word Alive and get everything out of it that I’m getting out of Outspoken PLUS more! Not only does Life Cycles (just an example) have the same basic sound as Outspoken, it also has much more emotion, more variety in moods, more color, and more catchiness and creativity in the breakdowns! So if I can listen to Life Cycles and plenty of other likeminded screamo albums that are BETTER than Outspoken, why would I want to clog up my valuable computer memory with Outspoken?

After listening to this album for about the sixth time, I’ve come to realize that the number of definite flaws is surprisingly low (as opposed to the newest Abandon All Ships record). The thing is that there’s just a complete absence of…well…EVERYTHING! There’s NO creativity, NO color, NOTHING! But then again, there aren’t any signs of major flaws and fuckups within the album. It’s just like a boring piece of slate: nothing special, just the same old thing that we already know too well. This is the reason why I’m not giving this as low of a score as I have given other albums, because even though this album is absolutely boring and not worth your time, when put by itself, it has skill, musicianship, and credible song structure and composition.

The one thing that I will point out is that the singing sounds really weird. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the singing sounds cornier than what I’m accustomed to hearing in this kind of music. The singing isn’t out of tune, and there are only a few moments where there’s the use of auto-tune, but it just sounds really fucking corny and it bothers the motherfucking SHIT out of me! Other than weird singing and extremely uncreative and generic song composition, this album has its moments here and there that deserve to be pointed out. The production quality of the album is top-notch and shows excellent professionalism. But honestly, if you’re looking for “the next big thing” that defies the limits and strives to create instead of copy, I wouldn’t say that Outspoken is worth your time. I would give this album 8/20.