Written by Dylan Sanders
From First To Last are one of those few remaining bands (dare I say screamo?) from an era gone by where Skrillex was known as Sonny Moore, a pretty killer lead vocalist (Though I’m more of a fan of Phillip Reardon era FFTL). They kind of fell off the face of the earth after their record, Heroine, or maybe times just changed, my point being that they’ve had several albums since then that I haven’t paid any attention to. At least, that was until this treat of a track came out. Oh yes, those who know the lords of djent, Periphery, will know why I was originally giddy with excitement to hear this track. I mean, besides Spencer Sotelo being one of the most talented metal vocalists in the niche that Periphery occupies today, he’s also a really cool dude and generally has very interesting lyrics.
Well, not to tell you guys what to like and not like, but this track sucks. Yeah, I said it. As much as I respect Spencer and as much as my 15 year old self would like to enjoy FFTL one more time before I start sounding like an old ass visionary repeating “Back in my day” and slobbering all over myself while some nurse tries to feed me baby food, I cannot force myself to enjoy this track and here’s why:
It starts with a groove, and already I’m listening to it thinking “Excuse me, Spencer, can we not have From Periph to Ery?”. But it’s more of a groove that one would encounter on, say, a Breaking Benjamin track than on a FFTL or Periphery track which means to say that It was something unexpected in anything but a good way. So that groove is going and it sounds exactly like the opening of “Firefly” (by Breaking Benjamin of course) and I just sit there trying to stay positive and for some reason hoping that Spencer is going to do an impression of Reardon or something that sounds totally not Periphery and you know what? I was disappointed. Yeah, from the first note he hits, which is this weird, ethereal wail similar to something from the new Skyharbor album, you realize that this is not a FFTL song; hell, this isn’t going to be an FFTL album. This is a Periphery side project song.
That’s not an insult necessarily. I obviously love Periphery. I’ve gone to see them live, I jam out to them willingly, and I already spoke about how much I love Spencer’s voice; there’s just one problem. Periphery isn’t just Spencer Sotelo. Periphery is an amalgam of talented musicians that know how to take complicated grooves and time signatures and kind of throw them at a wall and hope something catchy comes out of it AND IT USUALLY DOES. The problem with FFTL is that they’ve never been technical like Periphery by any means, so we are left wanting by the end of the track that quickly grows stale by the third time the chorus repeats and we hear those stupid gallops and pinches that make this song sound like the early 2000’s screamo scene trying to mate with late 2014 metalcore. And I won’t fail to mention what is easily the worst part of this song. At about 1:30 there’s this weird part where I feel like Spencer sat around with the other members and was like “Let’s do this super autotuned Taylor Swift ‘whoa oh oh’ chant thing that sounds like it fits in a 2015 A Day to Remember Covers album. Spencer, man, did recording Juggernaut really fuck you up that bad?
All in all, if you worship Periphery you might be able to stomach the song, or if you crave another FFTL album so badly that you’re willing to inject anything into your ears then feel free to try it. Basically, this doesn’t get me pumped for anything. Spencer is more talented than this, FFTL just want a well known metal vocalist to try and bring them back into the spotlight. End result: You shouldn’t be psyched by this track, but whatever keeps you in momentary bliss I guess is worth relishing.