Fight The Silence
Mattie Montgomery – Lead Vocals
Ryan Leitru – Lead Guitar,Vocals
Brandon Leitru – Bass
Sam Penner – Rhythm Guitar
David Puckett – Drums
“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” That provocative phrase was first uttered by one of America’s Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. In his inexhaustible effort to espouse the virtues of the brand new United States Constitution, Hamilton was quick to criticize those who refused to stand up for liberty. Civil Rights activist Malcolm X famously paraphrased his quote to similar effect. Emerging in an era where pop culture is dominated by vacuous personalities with little of substance to convey, when “scene” bands often concern themselves more with clever marketing strategies than the urgent issues of our times, FOR TODAY stand decidedly apart.
Fight The Silence (Razor & Tie) arrives armed with For Today’s message of strength through love. The band’s emotionally explicit messages are torn from turbulent life experience, with an eye toward constructive change designed to impact their fans, the world at large and the band members themselves, in ways big and small. The band’s fifth album is the broadest demonstration of all that For Today has to offer, balancing the ragged, persistent urgency of their well-honed live show with the creative polish of modern metal songwriting and production. Plenty of bands offer up heavy breakdowns mixed with melodic choruses. But few display the authentic passion, the forceful optimism and the unifying anthem making power of For Today.
A furious exhortation to “burn it down!” kicks off the album in the appropriately titled “Molotov,” which doubles down on For Today’s modern and invigorating blend of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal that dominated Ozzfest, the precision blast of sing/scream pioneers and the bottom heavy bounce of early nu-metal, album oriented Active Rock and mosh-pit destroying deathcore. Undeniable anthems like “A Call to Arms” and “Break the Cycle” are certain to take their place alongside For Today’s most well-known crowd-pleasers, infused with a touch of atmosphere and melody to balance out the heavy crunch. The contemplative, ultra moody landscape of “Reflections” and the string-filled “Resonate” (which clocks in at just over 90 seconds) will give pause to fans of anything from Deftones to Radiohead, offering room to breathe between the impassioned screams, cementing Fight the Silence as both powerful and complete.
Lead guitarist and melodic vocalist Ryan Leitru, his bass playing brother Brandon, drummer David Puckett, new guitarist Sam Penner and vocalist/frontman Mattie Montgomery have crafted For Today’s most diverse offering, building on the strengths of fan favorite albums like Breaker and their first album for Razor & Tie, Immortal, infused with the skills honed on Vans Warped Tour, as headliners of Scream The Prayer and on countless tour with contemporaries like We Came As Romans, Asking Alexandria, Devil Wears Prada and Throwdown. The band’s potent blend of pummeling, powerful and evocative heavy music and outspokenly devoted lyrical force has earned them a dedicated following around the world. That passionate audience’s fervent support was evidenced by Immortal’s #1 debut on Billboard’s Hard Rock chart (and #15 debut on the overall charts). The press has followed suit, with accolades coming from Outburn (who’ve featured For Today on their cover), Revolver, Alternative Press and more.
For Today has never been more prepared to make a record, fine-tuning the material for Fight The Silence for several months, including preproduction work with longtime collaborator and friend, producer Will Putney (Like Moths To Flames, Impending Doom, The Acacia Strain). “We wrote entire songs that didn’t even make the album, which we’ve never done before,” Montgomery explains. “We scrapped parts that weren’t up to par, as well. So this album definitely represents the cream of the crop of everything we’ve written.”
The Prevailer EP and accompanying DVD was a gift to longtime fans, detailing their rise from the scrappy hardcore band who set the hard rock world ablaze with the one-two punch of Ekklesia and Portraits, setting the stage for the breakthrough success of Breaker. That album nearly cracked the Billboard Top 50, buoyed by a collection of songs that more clearly defined the band’s metal leanings. Immortal and 2013’s Prevailer saw For Today at their heaviest. This new album was tailor made to appeal to longtime fans while inviting new adherents alike.
“Fight The Silence is very inviting. It will be very accessible for a lot of different types of people,” promises Montgomery. “People who haven’t heard of the band before or who may not have liked the band in the past: I would strongly encourage them to check out this record. I’m very confident that it is better than anything we have ever done.”
The songs on Fight The Silence are catchier and full of more hooks than any For Today tracks before now. Montgomery has always written from a perspective of generational shift, encouraging the youth of today to empower themselves and rise up for change. That sentiment has expanded, in part by the singer delving deeper within.
“Fatherless” reaches into Montgomery’s own childhood; dealing with the death of his father from cancer when the singer was just eight years old. “A Call to Arms” addresses income inequality and the plight of extreme poverty both in the United States and abroad. “One of the things I was sort of meditating on while writing the record is the fact that the vast majority of violence in the world, if we’re honest, is a result to poverty,” Montgomery explains. “If we were to address poverty then rich people wouldn’t have to live in gated communities with 24 hour security, like they do now, because people wouldn’t be starving down the street from their multi-million dollar mansion.”
The album’s title track (and first unleashed online) aggressively confronts the scourge of human trafficking, the modern day slavery that persists in the modern world. For Today is putting their money where their mouths are, as well. Sizeable portions of the proceeds from Fight The Silence will go to the A21 Campaign and their global effort to rescue and rehabilitate those who have been victimized by human trafficking and to expose and prosecute those responsible.
Montgomery had all of the lyrics written for the song before he arrived at the studio. “Then the morning before Will got in, I watched a video someone sent me called ‘Girls Going Wild in the Red Light District.’ They were like, ‘Ignore the title. Just watch the video.’ In the video there are six girls standing in the window of a brothel in Amsterdam. This song starts playing and these prostitutes all start doing this synchronized dance to this music. All of the guys on the street stop what they’re doing and come over and watch these hookers dancing in the window. Then at the end of it, these girls get done and the windows go black and this screen at the top of the building comes on and says, ‘Every year thousands of girls are promised a dance career in Western Europe. Sadly they many of them end up here.’”
The singer sat in the studio and wept for a good twenty minutes. “I was sobbing, snot coming out of my nose, tears coming down my face. How can we help? Where do we even start? I literally went through the lyrics to this song called ‘Hope,’ which is ironic. I went through the lyrics that I had written and selected everything and I hit delete. You know what? This is the one that we thought was going to be the single, so I’m re-doing the entire lyrics to this song. I want the world to hear about this thing. So I re-wrote them in 45 minutes that morning. Then we recorded it. That’s ‘Fight The Silence.’”
From the preorder campaign through For Today’s considerable touring schedule, the band will work to raise awareness about this issue in particular, mostly in support of A21. “They have safe houses to rehabilitate, they’re working on the political end to help get legislation passed, they’re doing everything that I would love to do and just can’t because I don’t have the expertise. We’re using what we have to help give them money and resources to make it work.”
For Today want nothing more than to give listeners the freedom to join them as part of a human community. Fight The Silence is an invitation to anyone and everyone to check out the songs, learn about the issues, come out to the show, engage in discussions with the band. “What I would like to see is for us as humans to be able to put down our differences,” insists Montgomery. “Even if we don’t agree, we can come together and help each other in this thing called life.”
The time for building up ideological walls and taking potshots at one another from behind them is over. The time to passively ignore the world around us has long passed. For Today invites everyone to Fight The Silence with them, in whatever way they can muster. Participation, community, fellowship, relationship: For Today.