For Today

Breaker

01. The Breaker’s Origin
02. Devastator
03. The Advocate
04. The Breaker’s Valley
05. Seraphim
06. Arm The Masses
07. White Flag
08. The Breaker’s Encounter
09. Phoenix
10. Psalm Of The Son
11. King
12. The Breaker’s Commission

[Facedown | 08/31/10]

This is probably the first reader-requested review I’ve ever done in which the reader had nothing to do with the creation or promotion of the album, and Lord knows it probably won’t be the last. The album in question is Iowan christian metalcore outfit For Today‘s latest effort Breaker.

Those familiar with For Today know that they are very adamant about their faith. Where most bands make it a bit more subtle (eg. August Burns Red and As I Lay Dying), For Today go full frontal with lyrics like “We will see you on your knees before the King of Kings.” This shouldn’t pose as a problem by any means unless you have some religious hang-ups. Fans of the style will find the lyrical themes to be quite empowering, and they are indeed. There is a very anthemic and epic feeling, and when this album’s done you’ll feel like you can take on the world. Mission accomplished, guys. Too bad I can’t find a bio anywhere that lists all of your names. Seriously, I checked a couple of places.

Sadly, the music itself is just about mid-tier; I’d be surprised if this band could write a song beyond two minutes that didn’t include a breakdown and their use of 808 bass drops borders on criminal, but they manage to make it work. I can’t understand it, and neither can local chancellor of tr00 Mitch, who enjoyed their album Ekklesia despite admitting he thought it was terrible. For Today must be doing something right, as this album just feels like it makes sense. Call it a primal addiction. The chugs must be some subliminal morse-code for “This doesn’t suck.”

It’s not all standard fare deathcore chugs and breakdowns, however. Sweeping guitar leads and the inclusion of a few cleanly sung gang vocals season the mix up a bit (as exemplified in “White Flag” and what could be the album’s best track, “Seraphim”), breaking up the monotonous yet thundering low end and growls. Segments of spoken word poetry also bring some more narrative to the album, and it’s a nice touch. Not many bands could have pulled something like that off without coming off as cheesy or pretentious, but Breaker is an album that is definitely from the heart. This album is also the proud owner of one of the strongest closing tracks I’ve ever heard in “The Breaker’s Commission,” which starts out with spoken word backed by a beautiful guitar line, later climaxing into sung female vocals in a burst of epic melodiousness that places a nice exclamation point at the end of the event.

At first, I didn’t like this album at all, but upon repeated listens the album suddenly started to pop out and become full of life. I actually hit a wall early on and became bored, but I found a way around it and pressed on, eventually finding enjoyment in Breaker. Obviously, many will write this album off as just another generic deathcore album, and to an extent, those people are correct. Even still, For Today have managed to make something out of nothing and crafted something completely enjoyable.

For Today – The Breaker gets…

4/5

– JR

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