Fayne sounds like the name of a pagan post-black metal band. The kind whose output consists solely of eight to ten minute tracks of vague static buzzing and an album art colour palette consisting of three shades of grey. The kind who never hit above 10 000 views on YouTube for fear of “selling out” (re: gaining even a modicum of recognition from their peers). Amazingly, Fayne is a “progressive metalcore” act from Montreal. And given the overall sound of Journals, they have no intention of staying in the underground, if they can help it.
These are songs that demand to be played to bigger and bigger crowds. They nail the Killswitch Engage–style ‘scream-verse/sung-chorus’ shtick that, though slightly stale, still manages to be a good foundation to build the album around. The songs shred, the breakdowns break, and for the most part, Journals chugs by like a well-oiled machine. Say what you want about the band, they sound well rehearsed and tight in their execution.
But therein lies the problem. Metalcore can often sounds better if the wild energy inherent to the style comes through in the recording. And Fayne sound remarkable tame. They never fully let go, either progressively or heavily, and the result is an album that sounds stuck in third gear on a flat stretch. Even the eight-minute centrepiece “Totem” sounds like a more stretched-out version of the rest of the songs. The closest Fayne get to where they should be in on “Oblivescence,” where the guitars are allowed to freewheel and riff as they should without always returning to the same tired breakdowns.
Metalcore has been a redundant scene for a while now. The current big boys have all modernized their sound, whether it’s with an industrial edge like Code Orange or a mainstream rocky sparkle like Bring Me The Horizon. Even avant-garde noise ideas like those Daughters displayed on You Won’t Get What You Want are fair game, so long as they’re original. What there is no longer room for, however, are people rehashing older sounding ideas. Even if they do it as proficiently as Fayne are clearly capable of doing.
In short, Fayne are a talented, entirely adequate band that could just use a huge push creatively. It doesn’t have to be modern (Turnstile exploded heads all over this year by channelling an old-school DIY aesthetic). But whether they move forwards or backwards, they should not stay where they are. That sound has a shelf life. Time to go into the vintage or cutting-edge categories before you get left behind with the rest of the ‘also-ran’s.’
Written by Max Morin
*edited by Mike Milito