“We don’t do this band because it’s fun or to become popular, we do it because we have to. This is all about sharing our beliefs and our devotion through our music. That’s one hundred % why this band exists.” says For Today frontman Mattie Montgomery.
That kind of conviction has served him and the band well. Formed in 2005, the Christian group from Sioux City, Iowa is one of the metalcore movement’s most popular acts. They have found a passionate audience with their blend of face-ripping vocals, tech-heavy guitar parts, towering choruses and fervent lyrics. Sure, other groups are trying to pull off a similar formula, but no one is doing it better than For Today.
“We joke around about this, but most metalcore bands play something that is in between metal and hardcore, but we play songs that are half metal and half hardcore,” Montgomery offers. “We have songs that are straight-up metal, with Cradle of Filth-type vocals, and then the next part will just be this slowed-down, Terror-inspired part. We just love playing both styles of music, and try our best to mesh those two worlds.”
You won’t find better evidence of For Today’s dynamic songwriting than on Immortal, the band’s new album. The 11-song collection finds the quintet pushing their sound into a new direction with a fresher sense of melodicism creeping into their music. But Montgomery explains that they also stayed true to what For Today’s legion of fans have come to know and love about the group’s sound: “Musically, the album’s title track has some stuff going on in it that is definitely new for us. It’s got a melodic thing happening that reminds me of Thrice and Shelter a bit. But when it comes down to it, our fans want the heavy stuff. They want that low end driving pulse and rhythmic thing that For Today is known for, and we deliver that on this record.”
Anyone who has ever been to a For Today show knows the special connection the band’s fans have with their lyrics. Whether they’re performing at a huge theater or a club, the entire room is singing – no – screaming along with every single word. On Immortal, Montgomery delivers more of life-affirming lyrics that For Today are known for. “Fearless,” the album’s first single, drives the group’s message home more than any other moment on the record, offering the line, “We are fearless ones/we will not be afraid.”
When asked which song on Immortal he thinks will surprise For Today fans the most, Montgomery hesitates for a moment, “That’s a tough question, but I’ll have to say a song called “Foundation.” That track actually features the most clean-singing we’ve ever had in one song. The song has a really anthemic feel that comes alive with Ryan’s [Leitru, also lead guitarist] vocal parts. “Foundation” is just a big-sounding song. I can’t wait for people to hear it!”
Immortal, For Today’s fourth album and first for Razor & Tie, was produced by Will Putney (Lamb of God, Suicide Silence) who also manned the boards on their 2010 Breaker album. “At this point, Will is almost like another member of the band. He knows our sound better than anyone else out there and doesn’t take any crap from us,” laughs Montgomery. The album also features three guest artists: Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D. on “The Only Name,” Jake Luhrs from August Burns Red on “Set Apart,” and Tommy Green from Sleeping Giant on “Under God.” For Today’s three previous albums – Ekklesia (2008), Portraits (2009) and the aforementioned Breaker – have sold more than 75,000 copies, combined.
Montgomery feels that For Today’s music needs to be more meaningful to their fans than just an outlet for teen angst. “I meet a lot of the kids that come to For Today shows and I’ve realized that a lot of them don’t have strong father figures in their lives,” says the singer, who is also a married father. “Whether it’s through divorce, death, or their fathers just being emotionally detached, they need someone to enter their lives and tell them, “I love you and I’m proud of you.” That’s something that is really important for me right now. I want to be someone in these kids’ lives that is an example worth following, and more importantly, let them know that I see the value in them and what they do.”
For Today has delivered their positive message to the masses, playing over 1,000 shows on five continents, since their formation in 2005. The band has shared the stage with everyone from The Devil Wears Prada and We Came As Romans to Emmure and August Burns Red. But as popular as For Today is poised to become, Montgomery’s heart remains in one place: “No matter how popular we become, we’ll never downplay our faith and relationship with God.”
“Across the earth, we stand as one. We are not dismayed by the darkness that surrounds us here, because we know that when all hell closes in, if we stand and fight, we are not alone. Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil for you are near.” For Today
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