Some genres of music make it almost impossible for an act to make a name for itself. Sometimes they just have bad timing, and other times it’s just plain impossible to find a space in an overcrowded fad. Post-hardcore is precisely this type of genre, oversaturated with bands that range from the mascara-wearing to the semi-talented. Before Their Eyes fall squarely in the middle, not dipping as low as most of the copycat acts do, but not being able to define themselves as a band to keep watching unless you’re already a fan.
To qualify that statement, this doesn’t mean that Before Their Eyes can’t play music. Although a bit inconsistent between releases, they can at least be relied on for delivering the clean/scream duo that their fans crave. The band’s fourth outing, Redemption, works to decide what path that Before Their Eyes will follow while doing nothing to raise their standing in the post-hardcore community.
Perhaps the inconsistent music can be blamed on the constant lineup changes, as Before Their Eyes has functioned as a revolving door for members since their inception. Having settled on a lineup that works well together (for now), Redemption showcases a heavier side of the band that hints at improvement.
Opener Lies instantly brings out the big guns, opening with an aggressive riff and blazing percussion, while vocalist Nicholas Moore screams his heart out. Despite the heaviness of the introduction, the verses and choruses follow a much catchier route, and to good effect. One thing Before Their Eyes isn’t lacking is the ability to write choruses that stay in your head, and having Breathe Carolina lend them a hand on Dream definitely goes to show how smart they are about their pop sensibilities. Moore can sing well when he pushes himself as he does here, and Find further showcases his skillful pipes, if not much else.
But all is forgiven once Everything kicks into gear, as the beautiful guitars courtesy of Jordan Disorbo and Brandon Rosiar build into a cascading climax that has Moore at his best. The light vocals quickly break into more screams for the title track, one of the heavier tracks, but not brutal enough to stand out. Featuring some glitchy electronics over the breakdown towards the end (a la Woe, Is Me) was an interesting choice that stands as a nice gimmick and hopefully something that won’t become a mainstay in their bag of techniques.
Revenge and Revival both lie on the heavier side of the album as well, although the former remains infinitely catchier. The choruses are infectious, the breakdowns chug along at a fast pace, but nothing terribly unique is introduced until Surrender comes in. Although it starts off with a weak verse laced with halfhearted screams, the riff running through the chorus ties the track together enough to redeem it.
So far into Redemption, the lyrics haven’t stood out as anything special, and Backstabber is the perfect example of how weak they are. Moore sings through the chorus “You’re a backstabber/That’s all you’ll ever be to me,” and although it’s not Limp Bizkit bad, it’s just common generic lyrics that don’t take a ton of thought to produce. Faith blows through its short run time without eliciting as much as a second listen, blending into the background and falling victim to the skip button.
Luckily, closer Alive breaks out the melodic elements that Before Their Eyes have a grasp on, easily making it the best song on Redemption. Of course, the chorus is the catchiest to be found on the album, and there are no screams to be found here. Although one of the lightest tracks released, it shows the band’s talent in melding pop sensibilities with their slightly heavier edge.
Even if some of the songs fail to hold enough attention for repeated listens, Before Their Eyes hasn’t created a bad album. For what it is, it’s a competent release that features a handful of good songs but nothing extraordinary or unique. Although it’s not the best album in the genre, Redemption warrants a few listens before being forgotten. For fans of post-hardcore, Redemption will satisfy, but those looking for something fresh or revolutionary will be disappointed with the lack of evolution Before Their Eyes have gone through.