As They Burn – Will, Love, Life

As They Burn - Will Love LifeAs They Burn

Will, Love, Life

01. Medicine 2.0
02. Origin
03. Dream Collapse
04. The Conscious Man
05. Isis
06. Frozen Vision Part 1
07. Frozen Vision Part 2
08. When Everything Falls Apart
09. Z(h)ero
10. F.R.E.A.K.S.
11. Sons of Shiva

[02/19/13]
[Victory Records]

On the surface, Parisians As They Burn could have been just another addition to the legion of bands who contribute nothing more to the music scene than a couple of breakdowns that would appeal to few beyond the Victory / Rise Records sort of fanbase that much of the die-hard metal fanbase finds alienating. In fact, had it not been for the recommendation from fellow countrymen and Heavy Blog favorites Betraying the Martyrs, this band could have personally been discarded. It just goes to show that some oft-repeated tropes ring true; don’t judge a book by its cover. Looking over nu-metal influences the band wears proudly on their shoulders, As They Burn manage to make the percussive grooving deathcore sound come across as a bit more thoughtful than much their contemporaries, landing themselves as a comfortable bridge between the gleefully ignorant swagger of Emmure and the intelligent furtherance of Meshuggah.

In this regard, where many bands of this sort tend to drag their songs along with monotony, As They Burn are wise enough to include many flourishes that make each track stand out from the last. The melodic fluttering of ‘Origin‘ and the Deftones-invoking second half of ‘When Everything Falls Apart‘ offers a mature side of the band to that offers depth against the grooving riff-oriented sound of tracks like ‘Isis‘ and ‘Sons of Shiva,’ the latter of which might as well be a Meshuggah b-side. This is a testament to As They Burn’s surprisingly potent songwriting chops, where instead of a revolving door of breakdowns, Will, Love, Life is packed with legitimate songs that ebb and bow with some semblance of dynamic. For instance, during ‘The Conscious Man,’ the song is allowed to reach its climax through a surging momentum that would have been lost had the band instead gone with an expected breakdown. It seems odd to praise a band for what they’re supposed to be doing in the first place, but many bands simply miss the mark where As They Burn succeeds.

Where Will, Love, Life truly lacks is the vocal department. Vocalist Kevin Trevor often utilizes the off-key talking/yelling vocal style that was popularized by Emmure’s Frankie Palmeri (who does guest vocals on the penultimate track ‘F.R.E.A.K.S.’), which is an unsavory vocal technique that has never really sounded all that great to begin with. The lyrics don’t do Will, Love, Life any favors, either. The angst-filled barks of, “who in the fuck do you think you are?” in the opening track ‘Medicine 2.0‘ gives the record a questionable first-impression. Luckily, the intensity in his performance throughout makes up for these missteps.

Ultimately, Will, Love, Life is a largely guilt-free record that makes a good case for the existence of deathcore. As concerned with  songwriting as they are with finding a hard-hitting and aggressive groove, As They Burn are neither too sensitive nor too shallow. With a sound like theirs, it’s not hard to imagine that they’ll soon be finding a wider appeal and success outside of the French metal scene, and their Victory Records debut will likely put them on that track.

As They Burn – Will, Love, Life gets…

3.5/5

– JR

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