There has only been a few instances where a band decides to take that experimental route with their sound and try to drastically change what they're known for and step out as something completely different. This band tried that, and it gave me a headache trying to figure out how I felt about it. Who is this conundrum creating band you may ask? Why, it's As They Burn!
This six-piece band hailing from Paris, FR., was more known for their deathcore oriented style of music from their debut album Aeon's War which was released back in June of 2011. I was a big fan of that album and it's what got me hooked on the As They Burn sound. When I heard that the boys had been signed to Victory Records, I was really happy for them. I feel like Victory has a really great merchandise set up and they and their sister labels have some really great acts signed. I was proud of them and couldn't wait for their debut record from a major label to come out. Will, Love, Life was just recently released, and when I first listened, I was so flabbergasted at what was entering my ears that I thought it was a joke. I checked to make sure I had grabbed the correct album because the sound that was protruding from my headphones was definitely not what I was expecting.
Will, Love, Life has so many different elements in there that I'm not quite sure which one to pick at first. I had always pinned As They Burn as a deathcore band and I was sure that was the direction they were going to head with this new material. Instead, I got a more nu-metal, bouncy Emmure-esque album. If you're a fan of Emmure, I can almost guarantee you're going to love this album. I'm not sure if this was some sort of influence on Victory's behalf because Frankie Palmeri (Emmure) is featured on the track "F.R.E.A.K.S." and is actually signed with Victory; so whether or not that had something to do with the route As They Burn took, we'll never know. What I do know is that the boys molded this album so similarly to Emmure's style that sometimes I forgot I was even listening to a different band at all.
The nu-metal shines through when vocalist Kevin Trevor brings in the slowly spoken parts of the songs and adds this really creepy tone to it to make it sound almost black metal-ish. I was severely disappointed with where they went when it came to Will, Love, Life. When I think of the name "As They Burn" I think of a hard hitting, in your face deathcore band with nothing more than brutality and pure hatred. Instead, what I received was more bounces than Bermuda and more spoken to screamed vocals than two Emmure albums put together.
The elements in their own right aren't what necessarily makes this album mediocre but rather the fact that they repeat the same instrumentals, bouncy intros and outros as well as spoken vocals. If they did it once or twice, no complaints would be heard; however, almost every song was like this and the middle of the album got very slow. Tracks six, seven, and nine are incredibly slow interlude tracks that bore the listener more than they pump them up and keep them interested. The songs where they cut out these overused elements and throw in the real heavier vocals and faster instrumentation are the opening track titled "Medicine 2.0" and "When Everything Falls Apart". "The Conscious Man" is also definitely a standout track for me. The rest of the album was way too bland instrumentally and way too repetitive in regards to elements used and vocal range. Kevin Trevor has great vocals that can be harnessed to create one punishing album, but instead went the experimental nu-metal route and gave me something to shake my head at.
I tried incredibly hard to get into this album. I listened to it on repeat for hours and tried so hard to look past some of the slow endings and beginnings of the tracks, but in the end, I found myself only viewing it as mediocre. It's definitely not a failure in my mind, but it's not the best As They Burn can bring and I really hope it's surely not the last I hear from them. If they stick on the road of brutality, they will explode in the scene, at least that's my prediction. I don't want to tell them how to run their band and hopefully their new album will impress me more but for now As They Burn remains just a "sometimes" band for this reviewer.