If there’s one band who embody metalcore’s dichotomy of perfectly functional but utterly pedestrian to a T, it’s For The Fallen Dreams. Somehow they’ve reached this point of relative success with a near-constant stream of cookie-cutter rehashes, ranging from an ever-so-slightly tweaked formula on 2012’s Wasted Youth, to bland swathes of cliché that blight so many others like them on pretty much everything else. And yet, it’s done the Michigan trio well enough up to this point, and thus there’s little reason to believe that Six would be a departure in any major capacity.
And yeah, it’s basically not, rather a composite of 2018’s definitive metalcore’s elements rather than 2014’s that was their last album Heavy Hearts, but that means that there’s precious little of note to glean from this album. Instead, Six is just another sometimes melodic, sometimes “heavy” metalcore album that fades into nothingness the moment it finishes, and does little but pave the way for For The Fallen Dreams to do the same thing next time. There might have been worse albums than this in this vein released, but being as boring as this one is doesn’t exactly instill much faith that Six is much better.
And honestly, where do you even start with an album that essentially feels like a blank template for a better album to be built on it? To their credit, For The Fallen Dreams do pick up on some decent melody that prevents Six‘s noticeability from totally plateauing, like chorus foundations that manage to stick out, particularly near the end on tracks like Hypnosis and Void, and especially the terse, wiry synth that runs through The Undertow that actually has a feeling of dread about it, and sparks some kind of emotion beyond profound boredom.
That’s pretty much what you’ll be getting elsewhere though, as Six feels as though it actively tries to divert the listener’s interest elsewhere. Tracks like Forever and Ten Years are about as basic as hardcore-tinged metalcore gets, and even if the production feels comparably grittier to let a healthier guitar tone come through, there’s still that sheen over everything that’s become such a staple in metalcore for the worse. And that’s an apt way to sum up Six as a whole, an album that’s so comfortable in its staid ways that it feels like rehashing them is the best way forward. Even here, there’s so little to say, because everyone knows what this is anyway – guitars will chug; drums will pound as mercilessly as possible before slowing down to let the big, melodic chorus flood in; and Chad Ruhlig will deliver the typically truncated metalcore spiels with a scream that renders himself totally unrecognisable from the vast majority capitalising off the same lack of creativity.
And while it should be noted that For The Fallen Dreams are certainly not the worst to do this sort of thing, they represent every lacklustre ideal that this genre has seen driven into the ground with maximum efficiency. Six might remain largely inoffensive overall as an example of just how forgettable this sort of thing can be, but at least a truly awful album would leave something to talk about. This just sits awkwardly around the mid-tier of metalcore bands slogging away to no real avail, and it’s nothing that anyone will care about this time next week.
For fans of: The Color Morale, The Plot In You, The Amity Affliction
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Six’ by For The Fallen Dreams is released on 16th February on Rise Records.