If you’re like me, you miss modern Metalcore’s good old days. The days before the incorporation of mainstream elements (namely Radio Rock, Glam, and Goth… the Hot Topic way). The days before the genre overdosed on cum. You’re tired of thumbing through magazines and seeing all these pre-teen Jonas Brother-looking motherfuckers dressed up like Nikki Sixx for Halloween. What could be the genre’s remedy for all of this fake plastic music and lame posturing, you ask? Black guys. That’s right, I said black guys. Let’s not forget who invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, bitches. And not just regular black guys, these are occult-dabbling black guys from France. Well, four out of the six members, anyway. Luckily those other two don’t have Bieber hair. Look, in all seriousness, I don’t really give a shit what any band look like as long as they bring it. On Will, Love, Life, As They Burn bring it, indeed. I’m not sure it’s even fair to pigeonhole them as a Metalcore band, but the guitars have that monstrous Acacia Strain/Emmure low end, and their use of breakneck groove is strikingly similar as well. Plus, the band’s on Victory —which apparently means guaranteed guest vocals from Frankie Palmeri (see “Freaks”)— so maybe it’s one of those guilty-by-association deals. It should be noted that the band’s bend-and-chug riffage occasionally owes a little to something to Meshuggah —it’s strange that I can’t stand Meshuggah, yet somehow find myself enjoying many of the bands they’ve influenced (A Life Once Lost circa A Great Artist for example)— and they aren’t afraid to wander into emotive Post Metal territory when the song calls for it, either. Make no mistake, these guys aren’t merely copycat killers under any circumstances. Their music has its own signature feel, due in large part to the passionate roar of Kevin Trevor. The angst and desperation that bleeds through the cracks of his voice create instant highlights out of “Medicine 2.0,” “Origin,” “Isis,” “Frozen Vision,” and “When Everything Falls Apart.” Bastien Jacquesson’s subtle-but-effective usage of keyboards and samples also serves to lend the band’s sound a unique touch. Overall, it’s As They Burn’s addictive energy and unapologetically pit-friendly delivery combined with an underlying sense of misery and despair that carries the album to the land of replay value. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain this vibe without resisting the pressure to “progress as musicians” (aka: turn queer). Keep it 100.
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