To be honest, before even listening to my copy of From First To Last’s new self-titled album, I was thinking of how many horrible puns I could create using former vocalist Sonny Moore’s name. But because I’m just a Neanderthal, I couldn’t come up with any decent ones. Unfortunate for me (fortunate for you, though).
Seriously, though, From First To Last have encounter more drama over the past year than the entire first season of A Shot At Love. After Moore quit to go make his own music, the band was dropped by Capital Records and seriously considered breaking up. Instead guitarist Matt Good took over lead vocals, the band picked up a permanent bassist in Matt Manning, and they were picked up by Suretone Records. Armed with a new home and a permanent lineup, From First To Last went on to complete their third studio album and major label debut.
Produced by Josh Abraham (30 Seconds To Mars), the quartet created an album that cuts out a lot of technicality found on 2006’s Heroine and brings back some of the rawness and aggressiveness of their earlier releases, with a smudge of arena-rock reminiscent of 30STM, most likely courtesy of Abraham’s work behind the boards.
FFTL storm out of the gate with “Two As One” and “The Other Side.” Both feature explosive choruses and Good screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs. “World’s Away,” the first single off the album, is a bit slower and brings out the arena-rock sound I mentioned earlier. It’s the most commercial song on the album, so the choice as single makes sense, although the track is one of the weaker ones.
The most evident thing on From First To Last is Derek Bloom’s top-notch work behind the kit. He lights up tracks like “We All Turn Back To Dust” and “A Perfect Mess” with killer drum fills and pulverizing bass kicks. Guitarist Travis Richter does a decent to fine job backing up Good with his screaming, and he and Manning share a nice call-and-return of screaming in the breakdown of “Deliverance!”
Although tracks such as “Medicinal Reality” fall flat on their face, it all comes together for the band on “I Once Was Lost But Now Am Profound,” my favorite track on the album, as Good and Richter lead the charge with their dueling guitar work and Bloom puts the icing on the cake with a sick double bass kick outro. The album oddly ends with the ballad “In Memorium In Advance,” which clocks in just under two minutes. It’s not a bad song, and it’s definitely something different from the band, but it feels out of place ending such a loud album, whereas it would have been a good fit on the middle of the album.
From First To Last isn’t nearly as obnoxious as Heroine, which, other than some sweet instrumentation, was nearly unbearable due to Moore’s vocals. While Matt Good isn’t that great as a vocalist either, he is more tolerable and his lyrics aren’t as strange as Moore’s, although mediocre at best.
From First To Last have finally found their niche, as Moore was always the ugly step-brother of the band, never really fitting in. Without him, the band will appeal to more fans than ever before while maintaining their current fanbase. So take it for what you will. You know coming in that this album isn’t going to be very original or groundbreaking, but it’s incredibly fun to scream along and rock out to in your car, especially when you want something with little substance but harder than the newest Forever The Sickest Kids album.