Experimental release show promise but at what cost?
Hot off the heels of their 2004 full-length debut Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Body Count (The follow up to 2003's Four Leaf Recordings released E.P. Aesthetic), the Florida founded/L.A. based outfit From First To Last return with their all important and much hyped sophomore effort Heroine.
As you would expect, the four piece act (Who now consist of vocalist Sonny Moore, guitarists/vocalists Matt Good and Travis Richter and drummer Derek Bloom after parting ways with bassist Jon Weisberger prior to entering the studio) have moved on from their predominately screaming hardcore sound of two years ago, with Heroine showing the growth the band have made within that time by incorporating everything from progressive hardcore, industrial and emo influences into their new eleven track platter.
In a rather direct manner, From First To Last deliver a straight down the line heavy rocker in the form of the opener Mothersound. There's an emphasis on a heavier guitar sound (Which is no doubt aided by the Ross Robinson production and the Andy Wallace mix), but it's when the track breaks down around the three-minute mark for the solo that things really become interesting. The duelling guitars clashing with a heavy bottom end (The bass is provided by none other than Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland) is chaotic as it is destructive, giving the song an off the cut feel of improvisation. The lead off single The Latest Plague is an obvious choice with its melodic chorus and safe structure, while the percussive heavy/programming enhanced ...And We All Have A Hell, the title track Heroine and the driven Afterbirth are a little more daring with a slight progressive edge creeping into the instrumentation.
Although starting out in promising fashion, World War Me is a little too sedate in the emo-rock fashion to really take off, while the follow up tracks Shame Shame and Waltz Moore takes the lead set by the former one step further for the same results. The album's real highlight comes in the glorious The Crows Are Coming For Us. Sounding like a cross between At The Drive In (Vocally) and Muse (The use of the guitars in the riff sense), From First To Last actually manages to blend all their collective influences in the one song, without actually falling into one particular classification. Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails) provides some interesting programmed sounds for The Levy, while Matt Good's efforts in Waves Goodbye completely reinvents the band's sound into something more akin to dark electronic progressive pop!
Heroine is a risky venture for From First To Last, and it's one that will gain the band as many fans as it does alienate old ones. I'm not sure the experimentation completely works on all the tracks, but given that this is only their second album, it does bode plenty of further potential for the band to come up with something special next time around.
(Epitaph Records/Shock Records Distribution)