This band from Langenfeld in Germany purvey “nebenan Metal”, which broadly translates as “Metal from next door”. The sound quality of this album, the follow up to their debut ep “Everything Changes” (2017), has a next door quality about it. It’s not very good.
Yet in spite of the sound, I warmed to this album. For All I Care are a hardcore band with occasional modern elements which loosely made me ponder Soilwork and Scar Symmetry, but this is from the world of Killswitch Engage and Burden of a Day, both of whom the band recognise as “likes”. In contrast to the limp clean vocals, the growls are pretty convincing but understated like everything in the mix. It’s raw and it’s got all the Hardcore/Metalcore riffs but whilst it doesn’t sound like it was recorded in someone’s kitchen, it’s as if every expense was prepared in the production. I couldn’t work whether all this was deliberate. I suppose part of the problem was that I like to listen to New York Hardcore, which is dirty but slickly produced. In one sense, this is its poorer European cousin but, but, but “Forever and a Day” has charm and energy. The gang choruses are there, and restore a bit of faith in the vocal department but here’s the rub: these guys next door can play and know how to belt out a riff. The changes of tempo are well managed, and there’s a pungency about it all. I moved and grooved to this home made Hardcore, enjoyed the aggression, and reacted to the emotions. I sang along with the end of “Her Final Breath” and appreciated the tough guy aggression of “Awakening”. “Am I Still Asleep?” is the final line of this song. Well certainly not, because I was just getting over the less-than-perfect vocals and the lyric “Cause I can’t do this on my own, I am dependent like a drone” and the decent song that went before it. Then to my surprise the title track lifts this album out of the park. Great song, fluid, exciting, strong Hardcore – For All I Care had been promising this all along. The album finishes with the distinctly hard rock but mystifying “Escape Myself”, but I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. For All I Care evidently do their own thing, and I respect that.
Leaving aside the rip-roaring title track, this album has no redeeming qualities on the face of it as the music of guys from next door could be accused of sounding like everything else in the modern hardcore genre. I can’t see Killswitch putting up with some of the poor quality output. Yet I really liked “Forever and a Day”. Because of its lack of pretension and production, it’s different, honest and creditably quirky. I could happily subject myself to For All I Care again.
(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)