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FROM FIRST TO LAST
Sonny - Lead Vocals Matt - Guitar/Vocals Travis - Guitar/Scream Jon - Bass/Scream Derek - Drums/Scream "Kill the lights!" a growling throat commands just seconds into From First To Last's monumental debut Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Bodycount. And it's in this darkness that FFTL's magnetic amalgam of influences like hardcore, rock & roll, blood curdling metal and punk fuckin' rock takes on a life all its own. Gripping, powerful, cathartic and alluring, this Los Angeles (by way of Gainesville, Florida) quintet shapes the future of music on its Epitaph debut. Just check the unique, steadfast roar of "The One Armed Boxer vs. The Flying Guillotine," which keeps pace with the Screamo movement while incorporating the atmospheric spirit of U2's Boy and the guttural bark of vintage Madball. Moments onward, FFTL throws another curveball with the riveting, evocative, "I Liked You Better Before You Were Naked On The Internet." Here, Sonny Moore's vocals are as heartfelt and immediate as his bandmates' execution is intricate and damn near invincible. From First To Last's explosive approach on Dear Diary is a natural extension of their live initiative, and at the core if it all is an unorthodox credo. "We believe in head banging like there's no tomorrow and playing until you puke," drummer Derek Bloom asserts of the group's ferocity. "We started out wanting to put out live like we always thought bands should." With two broken arms, a couple of concussions and numerous head wounds to their credit, the men of FFTL - also known for guitar mutilation and getting vertical - have met and surpassed said goals with flying colors. And as red as their concert displays have been, the L.A.-based troupe's newest studio pursuits have been just as ambitious. Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Bodycount is an exercise in variety, from the unflinching power of "Featuring Some Of Your Favorite Words" - replete with thumping rhythms and angular riffs - to "Emily," a sadly gorgeous acoustic ode to long distance heartbreak. "We want you to feel like you're watching the wrong band but listening to the right music," guitarist Travis Richter explains. And his group's ability to juxtapose chaos and control is all the more impressive considering they have just one EP under their belts, 2003's acclaimed Aesthetic. Recorded for New York micro-indie Four Leaf Recordings in the months before Moore and bassist Jon Weisbert signed on, the disc earned From First To Last - who had already shared the stage with the likes of From Autumn To Ashes, Cave In, All American Rejects, Tsunami Bomb, Glasseater and Senses Fail - the attention of Epitaph. Resulting anthems like the thunderous "Secrets Don't Make Friends" and the blistering rage of "Kiss Me, I'm Contagious" artfully bookend the melodic, echo-doused "Populace In Two" with unexpected finesse. With the swansong "Ride The Wings Of Pestilence," FFTL bows out with an intensity few of its peers have managed to rival. Escalated by a full-on guitar bluster, the bedlam downshifts into a soaring, near-peaceful melody. Deconstructed to near-quiet, the quintet instantaneously, effortlessly revives its sonic mayhem before it leaves again. Oft-times reckless yet inexplicably refined, Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Bodycount is a passionate, gut-wrenching debut disc. As you reach for the light switch and bear witness to shards of glass, bits of shrapnel and pieces of splintered wood, remember this is only the beginning. From First To Last has no plan for slowing down.