Looking to truly stand out in the music scene, metalcore band For All Those Sleeping are back with their third record Incomplete Me. Since the release of their debut record in 2010, this band has clearly mastered the formula of hardcore music. They annihilate breakdowns and captivate listeners with their liberating refrains, but Incomplete Me shows some impressive progression. However, the successful risks they make are not as common as the generality of their style.
The one thing that keeps this record from soaring is the lack of proper distinction in the tracks’ structure and sound. For All Those Sleeping have already proved their talents in this area with their previous music, so the similar direction of Incomplete Me isn’t very exciting at times. Luckily, the record has its moments that save it from complete loss of interest. The opening track, for instance, is very strong and sets the stage well. Generally it has a common sound to the genre, but is enhanced by the refreshing chorus and the power behind lead singer Mike Champa’s vocals. This is a great introduction to the band’s strong vocal abilities and meaningful lyrics (“I am my cross to bear / No I don’t want to shelter you / from everything I’ve been through”).
They continue with these lyrical and vocal hooks to break from the generality of their sound. “Home” has a phenomenal refrain that highlights the track and “Tomorrow” has a heartfelt theme to inspire listeners. Their direct words like “There’s no chance if you throw it away / so don’t give up on tomorrow” hold a strong impact on listeners. These small sparks in some tracks improve the individuality and power they have on the record.
Throughout most of Incomplete Me, the common heavy instrumentals dictate the songs, giving them a similar, unexcited tone. Even so, For All Those Sleeping do produce certain tracks where their musical talents really shine instrumentally. Although the title of “My Funeral” has a chilling mood on its own, the band supports it with haunting orchestrated background features and shrill screams to carry out this gruesome tone. They show more tone distinction in “Sex, Drugs, and Empty Souls”, a song that critiques the mindset in the music industry. They stray away from generic metalcore guitar riffs on this track and resemble more of a heavy metal sound, while throwing in electronic effects to give off the desired party mood. The few times that For All Those Sleeping add variety to their instrumentals really pay off.
Incomplete Me has its moments where For All Those Sleeping take the risks to thrive in the music scene. Those few tracks sound very different from their common style, but end up being the best for their fresh and exciting sound. “Poison Party” uses synth effects to intrigue listeners with a robotic and futuristic vibe. The track crashes into a poppy chorus that’s fun and party-driven, something very different from most of the refrains on the record. Title track “Incomplete Me” differs a lot from the dance tone of “Poison Party”, but has its own significant presence. This track has more of a mainstream sound, but the pulsing beat and anthemic melody of the refrain drive the entire song to success. This is one of the highlights on the album for having such an overwhelming air. When For All Those Sleeping take musical risks like this, they shock and impress the world with the wide amount of potential they really have.
Incomplete Me has its highs and lows, but when it all comes down to it, change is for the better in this case. For All Those Sleeping crush the competition when it comes to the classic metalcore structure, but from what this record brings to the table, it’s hinting that this band has a lot more to explore with their talents. The empowering sound of “Incomplete Me” and the spooky mood of “My Funeral” are just some of the clues that this band can do so much more with their sound, and Incomplete Me is the first step to this rediscovery.