THE FALLEN - "FRONT TOWARD ENEMY" (METAL BLADE)
Despite what you may think when you hear the music these natives of California produce, three of them are in fact Berklee College of Music Graduates. I will refrain from making witty, wise-ass comments on that fact. Suffice to say that their music is quite unlike the music by the most famous of not-even-Berklee-graduates, Messrs Portnoy, Petrucci and Myung.
The Fallen have been around for almost a decade, though their uncompromising brand of "death core" (such is their official genre label I deduced from the bio) didn't get put onto any type of medium until 2000, when they self-released "The Tones in Which We Speak". This ultimately led to a record deal with Metal Blade, resulting in "Front Toward Enemy", the title of which baffles me a little (well hey).
In general, The Fallen play very heavy mid-tempo death metal with cool riffing and dark, near-shouted, near-spoken vocals. These vocals in particular, however, lend the tracks a feeling of similarity that is not welcome. There is in fact only one track that stands out from the rest, this being "The Hopeless & The Frail", with good use of acoustic guitar and distinctly pulsating, catchy drumming. Well, unless you count the superfluous hidden track at the end, which shows the singer can actually sing, but doesn't fit on the album at all.
"Front Toward Enemy" gets boring after the first six tracks or so, which can hardly have been the intention.
Written August 2002
Go to the Official The Fallen site
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