Part of the seemingly endless barrage of emo bands to hit the scene lately, Florida's Forever Changed released their debut EP for Floodgate Records in 2004. Produced by James Paul Wisner (Underoath, Further Seems Forever) The Existence EP serves as a passable preview for their upcoming full-length (releasing March 8, 2005). Only 3 songs in length, the band keeps it short and fairly straightforward throughout.
The EP starts off with the track "Identical." As an opener, it is energetic enough and offers a nice chorus, but as a song it suffers slightly from feeling too formulaic. This is a problem that plagues not only the first song, but the rest of the EP as well. The songs on this album follow the emo formula effortlessly, offering no surprises whatsoever. Everything you'd expect from an emo band is here, from the yearning vocals to the passionate, soaring choruses. Moving from "Identical" to "Alone" to "Encounter," I couldn't help but think to myself, "Haven't I already heard this song already?" Make no mistake, Forever Changed does emo well, but perhaps they stick to the formula a bit too closely for their own good. They offer nothing new or even remotely exciting to the genre, and after repeated listens, the songs were ultimately not strong enough or original enough to leave a strong impression.
So what separates Forever Changed from the myriad of emo bands out there? Not much, really. As the similarity in band names suggests, Forever Changed comes across as nothing more than a Further Seems Forever clone in an increasingly crowded Christian emo genre. As much enthusiasm as they put into their music, their sound is desperately lacking in originality and that will hurt them considerably if they intend to stand out from the pack in the near future. Granted, this band is young and perhaps their upcoming full-length (The Need to Feel Alive) will provide the growth that they badly need. While nothing on this EP will make the listener throw out the CD in disgust, there may be enough ingredients in this release to suit avid emo fans who prefer no frills and a straightforward approach to their favorite genre.- Review date: 1/22/05, written by Sherwin Frias
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