For Today’s fifth full-length begins much like you would expect from the Iowan metalcore band: majestic drumming, intense breakdowns, heavy vocals and bass drops galore. By now, Mattie Montgomery’s rough-but-well-enunciated growl-shouting is easily distinguishable from his contemporaries in the genre, and the clean vocals from lead guitarist Ryan Leitru are richer and improved.
Unfortunately, most of the music and singing gets over-blended in the unsweetened but nutritious Fight the Silence. If this was released in the late 2000s, it would perhaps fit better snuggled in between some As I Lay Dying and Becoming the Archetype CDs. But besides being a different time, there is a lack of general creativity (with some strong exceptions), with bass drops, bass drops, some pretty cool bass drops and a lot of chugging.
The tracks “Pariah,” “Break the Cycle,” “One Voice” and “A Call to Arms” do feature some respectable guitar play; however, it is most likely brought on by the influence of relatively new guitarist Sam Penner. “Hated by the World” is an excellent mash-up of metal and hardcore, and is by far the standout song musically. (Think A Day to Remember’s heavier stuff.) “Reflections” and “Resonate” are acoustic songs.
For Today will be on Warped Tour this year, and will no doubt continue their bold journey, simultaneously raising awareness of injustices like modern day slavery and abused children. Thank goodness for the lyrical content. For Today has never been shy about their faith, and this album is no exception. Right off the bat, “Molotov” crashes in with an inspirational battle cry: “There is a system designed to destroy us / we’ll send it back to hell / now watch it burn to the ground.” Those lyrics smoothly transition into a song about one of those systems – modern day slavery in sex trafficking – the central theme of the emotional “Fight the Silence.” “If (the victims of slavery) can’t fight for themselves, we’ll fight for them / It’s time to fight the silence, broken, abused and exploited, for the sick satisfaction of selfish men / only a coward would try to ignore it, but we can raise our voice and bring it to an end.” (Watch the music video, too, a pop-up video barrage of little known facts and figures about sex trafficking.)
One thing that was rather obnoxious was the use of choppy, auto-tuned cuts during some of Montgomery’s screams, which give the screams a pseudo-staccato effect in the songs “For the Fallen” and “Break the Cycle.” It’s an unnecessary aspect of overproduction. While Fight the Silence doesn’t shine or break any new ground musically (though I’d argue for “Hated by the World”), its lyrical content redeems it, shedding light on modern-day struggles too often ignored by the music industry (especially the Christian music industry). So perhaps, in the end, the stale music is excusable.