A round of applause is in order for For Today. On their latest album, ‘Wake’, they have achieved refinement, but also remained completely true to their core sound. True that as a band they have been content with playing a rather general sound when it comes to their music, but this record attempts to mix things up by allowing the musicians to seep their influences in to their established identity.
It’s worth noting that absolutely none of these influences are metal, despite For Today being a metalcore band. This already hints at featuring more variety than any previous FT record. It’s not merely a hint either, it’s a fact. Through exploring routes both hardcore and post-hardcore ‘Wake’ becomes the most intriguing record For Today have created. They’re still heavy, heavier than ever before even, but there’s more dynamic to speak of this time around.
Much of it is owed to a focus on more interesting rhythms and tempo-changes. A song like ‘Broken Lens’ becomes fleshed-out due to its various transitions and unpredictable sections. David Puckett really gets to show his knowledge as a drummer on this record especially, proving to be competent when it comes to hardcore rhythms and rock grooves. Lead guitarist Ryan Leitru utilizes more unsettling ambiance and dissonance than ever before, but still plenty of melodic riffage working well with new rhythm guitarist Jim Hughes’ heavy chugs. Brandon Leitru’s bass really gets to shine during the more atmospheric sections.
Opening track ‘No Truth, No Sacrifice’ may be easily telegraphed, but it stands as one of the band’s definitive tracks. It’s complete with speedy riffs, destructive breakdowns, Underoath-esque dissonance and an anthemic chorus. In particular, Mattie Montgomery sounds positively massive. Montgomery has always resembled a monster energized by his faith when it comes to his vocals, but his mid-range has become developed to a terrifying point and is more willing than before to unleash some burly growls. He opens up about his reaction to being abandoned by his father (‘Deserter, ‘Wasteland’), his addictions (‘Flooded Earth’) and his emotional discretion (‘Broken Lens’, ‘Without You’) on this record alone. Montgomery balances brutality (‘Forced Into Fire’) and power (‘Determination’) to great effect, utilizing more emotional shouts for songs like ‘Flooded Earth’ (complete with beautiful piano) and ‘Deserter’. He is complimented greatly by clean vocalist Ryan Leitru’s gritty clean deliveries. It’s prevalent in the Thrice-esque alt. rock ballad ‘Bitter Roots’ in which Mattie comes crashing in towards the end of the mostly clean song. Ryan may only get the vocal spotlight during choruses most of the time, but when he sings on this record his emotion is clearly conveyed more and more coherently as the record goes on. ‘Time And Tide’ especially shows that.
It’s both satisfying and intriguing that this far into their career For Today are still fleshing out their identity. Despite constantly sticking to their guns they always show us something new on each record, ‘Wake’ is the record where we learn the most about the musicians behind the band and stands as the most definitive, interesting and insightful For Today record.