Friday, November 18, 2005

Boy Sets Fire - Before the Eulogy CD Review

There are both good things and bad things about having a band you dig get popular in their scene. A few of the good things are that they get more exposure, they get on better tours, and they often get to release more than one cd (with better budgets, the more popular they get). On the other hand, when bands start moving up the ranks they’ll get accused of “selling out” if their sound ever changes, they are more likely to collapse in upon themselves, and labels will try to cash in on their success by releasing utterly horrible rarities compilations.

What we have here presented before us is one of those utterly terrible rarities compilations. Boy Sets Fire were pioneers of the hardcore scene and were also one of the more politically aware bands in the scene. As they became more popular, their sound shifted to encompass more melody and maturity, which led to many fans’ disappointment, but if you really think about it and give their newer material a genuine listen, it feels like a natural progression for the band. In the hopes of appealing to those fans that missed the edgier version of BSF, along with the BSF completists, Eulogy has put together a disc full of demos and early rarities, most of which should have remained in the deep, dank closet that they were no doubt dredged up from.

Most people, oddly enough, don’t realize that when a band starts out, they’re a hell of a lot less talented than later on in their career. Usually a band’s first demos or EP’s are pretty rough and not exactly the best representation of the band or what came later on in their career. The first seven tracks on this cd are very early and REALLY rough demos of BSF songs. The recording quality on most of these sounds worse than a cassette tape that has been copied from a copy that was copied from a copy that was copied from a copy that was copied from a mangled original that was recorded off of the radio. Seriously, these songs are hard on the ears, even the ears of the biggest BSF fans.

Tracks 8 and 9 are from the Consider 7” and sound just as terrible as the demos, which means you’ll be trying to rip your ears from the sides of your head as the disc is spinning. Once you finally get to track 10, if your ears are still attached to your head, you’ll notice a distinct change in the recording quality. Tracks 10 through 14 are from BSF’s Chrysalis EP and are actually pretty ace. These songs are very aggressive and sound like they could have easily been recorded at the same time as After the Eulogy. These four tracks are probably the best songs on this release and they showcase the reason why Victory eventually signed them—they do melodic hardcore with an attitude extremely well, all the while making it also easily digestable.

Tracks 15 and 16 come from the Suckerpunch Training EP. These are also two very solid tracks, showing off some of the mellower elements that would later be showcased on Tomorrow Come Today. It’s too bad, however, that the last four tracks are more assorted demos. Thankfully the recording quality is a slight bit better than the demos at the beginning of the album, but the songs still aren’t all that great and definitely lack the maturity that BSF’s later works had. Sure, you can tell it’s Boy Sets Fire, but these songs are far from being of the same quality of anything else that BSF, or almost any other average melodic hardcore band, recorded.

It’s too bad that this compilation had to be of such low quality because I’m sure there are a lot of BSF fans that would kill for any new material for them, and what they get here are about six good songs and fourteen average to below average songs with atrocious recording quality. It’s really not worth it to buy this disc, even if you are a big BSF fan. Go listen to After the Eulogy a few more times instead, you’ll be less disappointed and have $12 you can spend on something else that deserves your hard earned money.

No comments: