Sioux City, Iowa quintet For Today
is by far one of the most iconic groups to be associated with the Christian metal and hardcore genre. This all started back when the band formed in 2005, and in 2006, they released their debut EP âYour Moment, Your Life, Your Time
,â landing them a spot in the roster of Christian metal label Facedown Records. Afterwards, they released their debut full-length in 2008 called âEkklesia
,â which gained the attention of many fans of the metalcore genre. Then, âPortraits
â followed in 2009, which was a bit of a decline from the previous effort, but was nonetheless a solid release. The bandâs third release in 2010 and the last one to be made under Facedown was âBreaker
,â and then, after signing to Razor
& Tie (All That Remains
, Straight Line Stitch
), they released their best effort up to date âImmortal
â in 2012
. Later on, For Today
made another record under Facedown Records in 2013, an EP/DVD release simply known as âPrevailer
.â After a stellar effort with âImmortal
,â this five-headed record demonstrates not only some solid melodic hardcore, but some rather notable changes as well for the band.
One respect in which âPrevailer
â demonstrates some changes for the band is the musicianship itself. The aggressive vocals, first of all, seem to take a little more advantage of their rather wide range from lower to mid to high-pitches, as well as possessing some more shouts to express more emotion for the music than before. This is done greatly per usual, where the vocalist changes his pitch for the right moments so nothing with his performance is overdone. On top of that, the clean singing is more prominent in this release moreso than in any other release that For Today
has put out for its audience. They are potent and done well, and it is clear that the singer behind it is putting his energy into his performance. The guitars have undergone some noticeable shift as well, although this is mostly in the style of the melodies they bring, which are much more dramatic and less hardcore anthem-like than before. They also deliver heavy-fisted riffs for the audience to bang their heads to, and topped with the great melodies, they are done nicely. The drums, on the other hand, have not seen much change like the other elements, but are great nonetheless, continuing to be intense yet rather simplistic in how they are played. To top it all off, the production is also stellar, giving the music some explosive sound to it. Generally, the musicianship has seen some changes for the better with some nice sounding production as well.
A slight change has also been made for the music of âPrevailer
â itself. While the band continues to carry out their usual potent melodic metalcore onslaught, the tone of the music is somewhat more dramatic and epic, especially in the melodies of the singing and guitar work. The speed also contributes to this change and certainly backs the dramatic aspect of the melodic hardcore that this band puts out. However, despite this change, fans of the bandâs older releases will unlikely be disappointed, since the EP stays true to its hardcore roots. With that being said, the largest downside that this short release suffers from is that not only is the music as a whole undeniably generic in terms of the metalcore genre, but it also falls victim to some high predictability. While structured solidly, the songs mostly follow the typical verse-chorus layout without throwing any true surprises at their listeners. Therefore, the appeal of this record is woefully narrowed away from those in search of of innovative music and will mostly appeal only to diehard metalcore and hardcore fans. Thankfully, this does not necessarily stop the release from being at least decent and enjoyable, because there are plenty of gripping and powerful moments, one example being the introduction of âCrown
,â with great buildup and a spine-chilling explosion of metallic hardcore. Overall, although the record has problems, the music that the EP offers is pleasurable, and will appeal to especially the loyal fans of the band and genre.
However, if there is one aspect in which For Today
has not seen much change in, that would be the lyrical content. They follow the bandâs usual formula of empowering Christian-based lyrics, hence both the albumâs title âPrevailer
â and the album cover. The cover depicts the face of Jesus Christ with the crown of thorns on his head, showing how he prevailed through the pain and suffering associated with sin and became the Savior among his followers. The track associated with this religious concept, âCrown
,â has great lyrics to be accompanied with it, representing the guilt of the people that persecuted and crucified the one who helped and loved them in the first place. Sadly, the other tracks donât fare as well in terms of the lyrics, because they tend to be rather overly preachy and may be very discomforting to those who are outside of the faith. Nonetheless, they donât stop âPrevailer
â from being a solid release, and the lyrics in âCrown
â especially show great concept and lines about the history of the religion.
All in all, âPrevailer
,â although a step down compared to the bandâs best work âImmortal
,â is an enjoyable release. It has proven to be a small sign of some small but nonetheless remarkable changes, and they are certainly, for the most part, for the better, especially the musicianship. The vocals possess great range, the guitars are loaded with potent melodies, and the drums serve as a solid instrumental framework for the rest of the music with its dynamicity and velocity. The music overall, while sadly very generic and typical in terms of the melodic hardcore genre and the song structures, is still decent, with some potently memorable parts sprinkled throughout the course of the EP. Lyrically, the band focuses on the usual Christian agenda, and it does fall into the category of hit-or-miss, with the concept behind the album and the previously mentioned track showcasing great religious meaning, while the other tracks are a tad too preachy for their own good. All things considered, these aspects all add up to a decent release from one of the most well-renowned Christian hardcore bands ever to set foot on the scene. As stated earlier, seekers of the inventive will not find much to like in this release, but loyal fans of the group and metalcore and hardcore followers will take pleasure in this. It also serves well as a welcome mat for those new to the genre, as it sticks to the traditional roots of the style. In spite of the albumâs scathing flaws, the EP has been shown to be an indicator of some intriguing changes for the band to come.