Artist: Like Moths To Flames
Album: An Eye For An Eye
Label: Rise Records
Their fanbase has grown exponentially and they’ve headlined a notable amount of shows, but Like Moths To Flames’ full-length debut in 2011, When We Don’t Exist, remains a disappointing effort that found the Rise Records newcomers performing the musical equivalent of running in place with stale, emotionless, chugging sections and anti-climatic breakdowns aplenty making up the majority of the album’s runtime. Still, even with a rather uninteresting collection of material, there remained a glimmering hope the group could write interesting work as their live shows demanded attention and the skill of the individual members became known.
Now that Chris Roetter and Co. have had two years time to settle in and progress, their new record, An Eye For An Eye, could very well offer the change in direction they desperately need.
The album’s opening track, “You’ll Burn,” is a rather promising look at the beginning of a group reaching for new heights. Although it relies on stereotypical modern-metalcore conventions such as speeding up into a chorus made for chanting seconds before slamming into a breakdown, the track actually has a sense of life to it. This seems to be due to an organic style of production which doesn’t feel overdone in the slightest. And I have to admit, as Roetter snarls, “You’re fucking guilty scum,” atop a massive outro, it’s hard not to become excited for what the rest of the album has in store.
Speaking of Roetter’s snarls, the standout track “Deathmarks” is a crushing tour de force which confirms the vocalist has finally begun to fulfill the potential he displayed with Emarosa years ago. His screams have evolved into a menacing mid-range rasp that fit right in with the group’s down-tuned instrumentals on the track, and fortunately never lose their power throughout the record’s entirety. On the flipside, the frontman’s clean vocals continue to be a bit hit-or-miss. While he belts out some fantastic hooks, such as in “The Common Misconception,” a few lighter moments throughout An Eye For An Eye fall flat due to sounding a bit unpolished. These occasional slip-ups don’t detract from the overall experience as they are quickly forgotten once the next round of harsh vocals bursts through the gates, but are worth mentioning nonetheless.
From an instrumental perspective, Like Moths To Flames aren’t pushing boundaries by any means, as the previous song structures mentioned are essentially the only patterns on the record, but technical proficiency isn’t exactly the point of their breed of metal. Rather, they have found a knack for writing simple-yet-heavy material which complements the straight-forward, anger-filled lyrics their vocalist lets loose (“There is nothing worth saving; marked for death”). Thus, breakdowns and the like are still at the core of the band’s music, but the majority of them are extremely enjoyable as tracks like “My Own Personal Hell” and “Nothing But Blood” contain points potent enough to send chills down one’s spine. Give the group credit for attempting to branch out, too, as “In Dreams” finds the entire band coming together for a post-hardcore-leaning cut which carries a genuinely uplifting atmosphere within the midst of an album focused on the darker corners of life.
Have Like Moths To Flames discovered a unique sound? Not just yet. That said, An Eye For An Eye’s pissed-off metalcore offerings provide more than enough exciting moments to warrant a listen while also ensuring the security of the band’s prime position within the music scene.
Reviewed by: Michael Giegerich (Follow him on Twitter)