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Before Today - A Celebration of an Ending 
By Travis Becker

On this weekís episode of the Brady Bunch, the family goes on vacation to Hawaii, hi-jinx ensues.  Listening to San Diegoís Before Todayís debut album is a little like reading that summary in TV Guide.  Itís something awfully familiar, but still good enough to sit through, if youíre 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 itís hard to shake the feeling, as youíre experiencing the band, that youíve seen this episodeÖerÖheard this song, before.

Right off the bat, itís hard to know what to make of the band, the opening track sounds like something from the last couple of Incubus records.  Why wonít 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 whatís coming, the anguished poetic lyrics in the library.  The vocals in particular hold the album back from really shining; itís 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 Iím 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 ďArtist in the AmbulanceĒ with a better producer who can give the bandís 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 canít overcome the limitations of the genre that theyíre chosen to embrace.  Like a classic rerun, Iíll sit and watch it (or listen to it as the case may be) but if something new or better comes on another channel, Iím flipping.

CD Info 

Before Today - A Celebration of an Ending
Label: Equal Vision
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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