Artist: Like Moths to Flames
Album: The Dying Things We Live For
Like it or not, some bands become archetypical of an entire genre—when you think of genre X, you can’t help but think of band Y or Z. To some, those bands are simply “generic,” but to most, they represent a band whose sound is the epitome of whatever style they play—and when it comes to metalcore (or the cringe worthy post-hardcore and metalcore idiom, “post-metalcore”), Like Moths to Flames are that band. After instantly captivating audiences worldwide with their debut EP and their two critically acclaimed full-length releases, the quartet are back with The Dying Things We Live For, an album that sees the band continuing their ascent to greatness. With heavier breakdowns, sharper riffs and catchier choruses, The Dying Things We Live For is a refined and amplified assault by the group that gave us When We Don’t Exist and Eye For An Eye, providing the listener with ten tracks that do Like Moths to Flames’ lofty reputation proud.
The Dying Things We Live For takes the extremes touched on by Like Moths to Flames’ two previous releases and uses them as a jumping off point for the foundation of the album. As a general rule, the faster parts are faster, and heavier parts are heavier and everything in between is intensified to cut down on filler. “The Art of Losing” is an excellent example—as percussionist Greg Diamond decimates his drum kit with rollicking, speedy patterns that dive into devastating breakdowns at the drop of a dime. The punchy single “Thrown to the Wind” is further evidence of this—as Diamond’s drums roar at such a zealous candor that they feel as though they could whip up a cyclone—let alone a circle pit—without effort. “No King” and “Destined for Dirt” continue these themes—only rather than straightforward assaults on the listener’s ears, he works with bassist Aaron Evans to create punchy, dynamic patterns that allow for the band to flow from sinister aggression into catchy, quick melodies. Evans adds punch and depth to Diamond’s drumming, giving guitarist Eli Ford a fluid firmament to branch out from. Ford’s fretwork is, primarily, a continuation of his efforts from the band’s previous works, adding hints and splashes of punk-influenced aggression and edge into the mix. Jarring chords and effects from breakdowns like those in “Never Repent” and the rollicking introduction to “The Art of Losing” are proof of this—as are the uplifting, soft(er) choruses sprinkles throughout the album—evidence of Ford’s dynamic talent and creativity that help make Like Moths to Flames the band they are.
When it comes to the bulk of the band’s identity, however, the majority of the weight lands squarely on the shoulders of frontman Chris Roetter. Ever since the hit one-liners in tracks like “GNF” and “You’ll Burn,” Roetter’s lyricism and vocal talent have become a measuring standard of other bands in the genre. The Dying Things We Live For is, in the best way possible, more of the same. Roetter’s ability to belt out harsh yells and beautifully sung syllables continues to impress—right from the very beginning of “No King,” and through the end of “Wither.” What’s more is Roetter’s lyrical prowess keeps up with his impressive vocal work. “Never Repent,” among others (especially the poetic climax to “Wither”) are testaments to his practically-trademarked style of cruel-and-unusually catchy one-liners before brain-melting breakdowns. When Roetter lets loose with “I don’t owe the world a God damn thing,” the listener—no matter who or where they are—is bound to lose their minds. Fittingly, The Dying Things We Live For is packed with such memorable moments, making it a ride the listener is sure to hang on for dear life through.
If Like Moths to Flames’ previous albums were solid testaments to their skill as a band (and they are), then The Dying Things We Live For is Like Moths to Flames concentrated. Free of filler from start to finish, the entire release is a metalcore powerhouse laden with just enough catchiness and ambience to keep the listener breathing throughout its duration. With every track giving the listener a reason to listen and each breakdown hitting like a tidal wave, the only fault found within the ten-track release’s limits is production that seems intentionally rough around the edges. While a majority of the album’s grooves and riffs still sounding crisp and clear, much of the percussion and bass throughout the release feels unnecessarily crunchy and rough, giving an abrasive feel that the band may or may not have been going for. Ultimately, this pitfall passes by largely unnoticed, as it only truly catches the listener’s attention during rare portions of the otherwise captivating release.
Like Moths to Flames continue to live up to their gargantuan reputation. The Dying Things We Live For is every bit as heavy as Eye for an Eye, yet as catchy as When We Don’t Exist, all the while omitting superfluous fluff—giving even listeners on their deathbed a reason to keep living and keep listening.
For Fans Of: The Ghost Inside, Sirena, The Amity Affliction, We Came As Romans
By: Connor Welsh