This week, July 1st to be precise, marked the tenth anniversary of Poison The Well’s You Come Before You, arguably their best record but one that sent them into something of a tailspin. You Come Before You was the band’s major label debut, released by Atlantic Records, and yes, you guessed it; it’s their only major label release.
Where bands often tone down their ferocity for such an endeavour and even reel in their ambitions a little for the sake of getting those all-important singles and music video ready, Poison The Well didn’t quite do that.
This was the band that released The Opposite of December in 1999, a melodic metalcore record released long before Killswitch Engage even started writing Alive or Just Breathing. This was a band that had something special brewing inside. You Come Before Youobviously had a bigger budget behind it and the production values speak to that but the dense heaviness and hardcore sensibilities, largely, remained and the caution to the wind attitude of the band was both to their detriment and benefit. Benefit? It’s a stellar record. Detriment? They were dropped by Atlantic. It just wasn’t squeaky clean enough.
But steady on, PTW didn’t release some Boris-sque descent into the avant-garde or something like that. This album had hooks and memorable choruses aplenty and Jeff Moreira delivers a phenomenal vocal performance. It’s like the ideas of The Opposite of December and Tear From The Red finally had the production space to unfurl… and throw in a few country music interludes for good measure.
Hindsight is such a beautiful thing. 2003, what a bizarre year. Nu Metal was just being peeled off its deathbed and metalcore was getting ready to explode but what ‘metal’ was on the major labels is cringe-worthy at best. Taproot (yes, remember them?) were on Atlantic at the time. Limp Bizkit were being forced down our throats still, plastered all over Kerrang TV and Scuzz. POD were doing a tune for the soundtrack for The Matrix Reloaded. Oh yeah, and St. Anger happened around this time too. Kind of embarrassing, wouldn’t you say? It’s funny nonetheless.
Poison The Well would disappear for a few years and re-emerge in 2007 with Versions, an impressive release in its own right, followed by the EP series, entitled I/III / II/III / III/III, but sadly 2009’s The Tropic Rot was a poor affair and shortly afterwards the band would break-up. Nevertheless we have this opus to enjoy, released in unlikely surrounds. Happy 10th birthday.