Michigan trio For the Fallen Dreams’ third full-length album, Back Burner, doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the table in terms of the now well-worn metalcore formula. But the band does manage to create material that will, at times, engage even the most jaded heavy-music listener. Tracks like “Complicate the Situation” and “The Human Collective” blend original riffs and catchy choruses with blistering breakdowns, and they throb with genuine passion and energy. Even the somewhat cliché soft track “Bottom Feeders” sounds great, and is well-placed in the middle of the album, where it provides a replenishing respite from the overall assault. Nevertheless, the band’s consistent use of clean-sung choruses comes across as uninspired and forced, and it only serves to break up their better heavy verses. The group also relies too much on by-the-numbers breakdowns throughout the album. Back Burner is hardly the year’s most memorable record, but it will please fans and should surprise listeners who think that nothing good can come from metalcore these days. DAVID McKENNA
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