A lesson that a lot of bands trying to be progressive could do with learning is that you don’t necessarily need to call yourself progressive. If anything, it’s a tag that just hems in the audience’s expectations of a certain sound as opposed to anything that’s delivered that truly has some innovation in it. A good example of a band doing this right is Deftones, who remained slotted into nu-metal but took their sound in a drastically different direction all of their own accord. On the other hand, there’s a band like First Signs Of Frost, titling their newest EP The Shape Of Things To Come in what feels like a roundabout way of saying they’re “pushing boundaries” and “changing the face of music” without having to outwardly say it.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out the outcome. There’s enough on this EP to suggest that, if they stuck to the essentials, First Signs Of Frost could be a fairly solid post-hardcore band, albeit one buoyed by smoother, more monochromatic production and a heavier focus on clean, soaring melodies. Even if Atlantis does stick to a fairly soft, straightforward piano formula, it at least accentuates those melodic affectations, and ends up as the EP’s best song.
Elsewhere though, First Signs Of Frost become too bogged down with progressive rock tropes, and thus fall into many of the associated pitfalls. To start, you’d struggle to remember anything beyond the guitars being as clean and steely as they are, given that most of the instrumentals are comprised of tumbling movements pieced together with vague hopes of sticking. Even while tracks like Meat Week and especially Look Alive Sunshine are decked out with choruses that could break out further if they wanted to, the fact that the music itself barely has enough connective tissue means any appeal is drastically limited. Even then, Daniel Lawrence’s vocals are bathed in a filter and slight compression that sounds painfully uncomfortable to listen to at points, and only serves to create more distance between the band and the listener.
From that evidence, First Signs Of Frost aren’t even hiding the fact that they want to be Deftones, atmospheric and mysterious while still having punch and melody. But where Deftones have their own effective, ethereal quality, The Shape Of Things To Come is such a bitty release that that sort of fluidity is virtually impossible to obtain. Even if the seeds are there, First Signs Of Frost still feel like the first draft of a good band at the minute; only when their true talents are properly identified and honed will they become anything more.
For fans of: Deftones, glassjaw, Circa Survive
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘The Shape Of Things To Come’ by First Signs Of Frost is released on 11th August on Basick Records.