Art Damage: Fear Before the March of Flames There are two methods with which to judge Fear Before the March of Flames. The first method consists of listening to the band within the context of all music. The second method deals simply with judging the disc next to other hardcore acts. Fear Before fails miserably on one front and achieves no less than mediocrity on the other front. Specifically, Art Damage is a disjointed, incoherent mess of noise when analyzed among all elements of the musical universe. Among hardcore, however, I can imagine that Art Damage will be respected, if not revered. Had Fear Before betrayed their genre through innovation instead of pandering to hardcore kids with imitation, I might have recommended this disc to all lovers of music instead of hardcore kids exclusively. But alas, Fear Before worked very hard to garner the 'hardcore' label. Jagged guitar riffs with metal-tinged freak-outs are accompanied by a sometimes hard and slowly deliberate, sometimes machine-gun-quick rhythm section. On top of this oftentimes obnoxious chorus of hardcore are the obligatory demonic screeches that will make your throat ache. These are juxtaposed next to more orthodox vocal styling that ends up being simply dull. I wish I could tell you more about the actual music, but it all sounds about the same (the entire album could be condensed into a single song) and there isn't too much to be said about it. Redemption cannot be found in the lyrics either. They are cryptic and cliché, with lines like we were meant to eat each other and raise your head and say well done before they put you in a casket. Indeed, redemption for Art Damage will only be found within the hardcore kids nodding their heads at shows. For anyone else, this is truly exhausting.