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As They Burn Start To Ignite On Will, Love, Life

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It’s refreshing to see evidence that deathcore artists (excluding MS faves Oceano) are starting to migrate away from the tried-and-true formula of verse, chorus, verse, breakdown in favor of more technical or ostensibly progressive songs. Advertising themselves as music for fans of “Meshuggah, Emmure, and Chimaira,” Parisians As They Burn are undeniably deathcore, but their new release, Will, Love, Life isn’t quite the album you’ve heard a thousand times over.

Opener “Medicine 2.0” isn’t a promising start to the album, with grooves and chugging that smack uncomfortably of Risecore. But on closer inspection, it’s clear that the most gimmicky elements are trashed, leaving only parts you’d actually want to listen to. This dabbling in questionable waters is redeemed by the nostalgic (both chronologically and emotionally) melodies in the choruses. The second track, “Origin,” blasts off with a frenetic salvo of djenty riffage, establishing the band as musicians who do know how to write a pit-worthy metal track.

Will, Love, Life continues this pattern for much of its length: energetic, slightly above-average tracks bogged down by the weight of the musicians’ influences and history. The Emmure-esque lyrical & vocal variations (“Without me you’re such a fucking mess!”) and nu-metal influence in general are a bit of a turn-off. And As They Burn’s 2011 release, Aeon’s War, was a good example of that tried-and-true deathcore formula — it’s clear that the musicians have breakdowns in their blood.

As They Burn have largely learned to avoid such deathcore formulations. The band rarely breaks out into full-frontal bro-core breakdowns, instead crafting tempos that are decelerated but which don’t stretch into hyperbole. Hoby Arinosy and Fabio Meschini sprinkle intriguing guitar sections throughout the tracks, like the sinewy ripple of “Dream Collapse” and the thunder of “Isis.” There are even some strangely beautiful moments. “Frozen Vision” Parts One and Two combined are less than five-and-a-half minutes, but the pair still communicate a drawn-out, strangled distance usually found in the only lengthiest of anthems.

Lamentably, nothing here is particularly virtuosic, and Will, Love, Life is riddled with sections that teeter between homage and ripoff.  “The Conscious Man” screams Architects, while “Sons of Shiva” is undiluted Meshuggah worship until the onset of the churning, closing chords. The band keeps it varied with unexpected choruses and hints of potential technicality to prevent this from being entirely unoriginal.

As They Burn don’t bring anything new to the table, but they do manage to collage all the other bits from bands that had ever been considered “new to the table,” and arrange them in an album that conveys itself as moderately distinctive and considerably enjoyable. There’s definitely potential for something greater here, but for now we’ll settle for mere entertainment.

As They Burn’s Will, Love, Life comes out tomorrow on Victory Records. You can listen to the track “F.R.E.A.K.S” here and pre-order the album here.

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