For Your Health has set out to really flex the hell out of their versatility and talent on their debut (solo) album. With a 17 minute run time, it doesn't take long to wrap your head around what's going on here: let's bounce between dissonant mathcore with abrasive screams, to heavy chaotic metalcore breakdowns, to emotional post-rock climaxes with pretty guitar noodling, to catchier, more accessible clean vocal post-hardcore, then back to violent mathcore. Basically, let's innovate the genre of post-hardcore by blending all the elements of post-hardcore we know and love into one cohesive record which'll create something exciting and new in the post-hardcore scene.
I think this is a pretty good idea, not the most original idea but I tend to like records that do stuff like this. For example Less Life by Died aims to accomplish something somewhat similar, albeit with less metalcore and more Slinty nerd punk.
Despite the respectable ambition, this record really falls short in my opinion. Even though the runtime is short and the desire to cover as much ground as possible is clear, In Spite Of comes off as surprisingly repetitive, predictable, and even cliche. I mean I love abrasive mathcore breakdowns as much as the next guy but their execution of it here really isn't noteworthy or special. Their guitarist needs to learn more chords than dissonant tritones, and frankly they should've just completely cut out all the post-rock shit given how half-baked and cliche it sounds. This album ultimately is a nonstop rollercoaster between generic mathcore and post-hardcore cliches, and I just can't get behind it.
On top of that, the production is pretty dreadful. The mixing makes it very hard to distinguish the individual instruments, it all sounds muddy and soft, and who knows how much that's holding back the album from it's full potential.
Speaking of potential, For Your Health CLEARLY has it. This record plus their split with Shin Guard is packed with talent. They just need to slow down, flesh out their ideas more, play to their strengths, and find a better mixer. I'm still going to give it 2.5 stars because I appreciate the ambition and it definitely does have some shining moments, but frankly I won't be returning to this very often if at all.