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Before Today - A Celebration of an Ending 
By Travis Becker

On this week’s episode of the Brady Bunch, the family goes on vacation to Hawaii, hi-jinx ensues.  Listening to San Diego’s Before Today’s debut album is a little like reading that summary in TV Guide.  It’s something awfully familiar, but still good enough to sit through, if you’re into that kind of thing.  With Celebration of an Ending, Before Today take what is rapidly becoming a tired and formulaic genre, melodic hardcore punk, and inject a little of their own flavor into it, but it’s hard to shake the feeling, as you’re experiencing the band, that you’ve seen this episode…er…heard this song, before.

Right off the bat, it’s hard to know what to make of the band, the opening track sounds like something from the last couple of Incubus records.  Why won’t bands stop sticking pointless intro tracks onto the frontside of their records?  Fine, if you happen to be composing a rock opera, but on a debut album?  Skip it.  Doubts are soon laid to rest, however, as all of the familiar faces in the game of Clue that has become melodic punk are present. 

Professor Background Screams is here, and so is Colonel Same Old Drumbeat.  Everyone knows what’s coming, the anguished poetic lyrics in the library.  The vocals in particular hold the album back from really shining; it’s just been done before. There are two-dozen bands that have the same singer copping the same nasal whine from Ben Weasel or Tom DeLonge, depending on when they were born, and I’m betting on Delonge in this case. 

I do not want to make is sound like this is a bad record it absolutely is not.  There are moments when the band recalls the structural complexity of Fugazi in their implementation of brake-screeching starts and stops, or the more artsy nuance of older bands that preceded it in post hardcore, like Chisel.  The instrumental layering is top notch and there are some killer guitar solos played over top of the basic hardcore template that are really outstanding in the mix.  

The band remind me a little of Thrice, and they can certainly reach the plateau of an album like “Artist in the Ambulance” with a better producer who can give the band’s sound a little more punch.  There even sound like a few guitar harmonies thrown into the mix a-la Thin Lizzy.  I really found Celebration of an Ending growing on me after a few listens, but the record just can’t overcome the limitations of the genre that they’re chosen to embrace.  Like a classic rerun, I’ll sit and watch it (or listen to it as the case may be) but if something new or better comes on another channel, I’m flipping.
 



CD Info 

Before Today - A Celebration of an Ending
Label: Equal Vision
Rating
 
Tracks:
Sight To Frame
Roots Beneath Ideals
Pierce The Veil
Enlarge Your Hearts
Process Of Losing And Gaining, The
Failure Is Relative
Shallow Pockets
Well Of Tradition, The
Staring At Backgrounds
Color Your World
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online


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