Remember when you were a kid and you wanted that remote controlled robot toy that could shoot lasers from its eyes and made deathly sound effects, only to wake to a knitted sweater and endless pairs of thick wooly socks?
Now imagine you’re that kid and you’ve been anticipating the new release by For The Fallen Dreams (who in their defence have had a hard time band member wise) only to find that the new shiny For The Fallen Dreams album you’ve been waiting for is nothing more than a slightly more brutalised A Day To Remember record. Although it is was produced and mixed by ex ADTR guitarist Tom Denney, which might explain a few things.
I won’t lie, I had high hopes for Back Burner and while it’s not a complete failure, they’ve lost the one key component that made their previous releases enjoyable: originality. In between chug chug drop tuned guitar riffs and pop punk-esque clean vocals, if you really listen you can hear hints of past albums Changes and Relentless through the entire album, but not entirely.
While I am a firm believer that bands need to progress, and that if you make the same record twice you’re an unoriginal band that won’t last long (unless you’re Caliban who have successfully written the same album multiple times). Back Burner at times feels like it’s drowning in over production and the desire to keep up with the slew of other pop-punk-metalcore-hardcore-deathcore bands around.
The album has its moments where it shines in that FTFD trademark brutality, the track Let Go is brutal as fuck. It sounds like a sack of cats being swung repeatedly into a concrete slab by Olympic shot-put champions. The intro of Deep Down Inside gives listeners a small glimpse at just how well FTFD can write melodically heavy riffs like they used too.
Another gripe that I have with this album is production wise compared to their previous albums the guitars are not loud enough. The guitars feel washed out and the drums feel like they’ve been over-produced, the snare drum in some of their songs like Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In sounds weak, and the presence of the bass drums are mostly non-existent to my ears throughout the entire album.
Two of the best songs on the album just so happen to be track 11: Yellow and 12: Fist Fight, the final tracks on Back Burner. Are they fucking with us? Making us listen to pop-core drivel for nearly half an hour before delivering solid brutal tracks.
However I feel like I’m being a bit harsh to a band that I really dig, it pained me to write this review. But I stand firm that Back Burner could have been a masterpiece that has missed the mark quite substantially, it’s still enjoyable at times if you skip the pop-punk whining tracks like Only Unopened Arms or the track Bottom Feeders. My review may sound like I hate this album, but it’s okay, just not on the level I expect from FTFD, maybe next album they’ll go back to their roots.
Listen to the track ‘Yellow‘ below.