On its debut disc, Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count, California's From First to Last combined screamo energy with electronic noise, spazzy art-funk, and occasional lapses into acoustic balladry. The result was one of the few albums of post-hardcore shrieking still worth returning to three years later. That is, it would be worth returning to if they hadn't so thoroughly swamped it with this new effort.
Heroine takes the innovations of the band's debut and adds a slew of new, even weirder ideas: prog-rock jamming nearly worthy of the Mars Volta collides with Autechre-style electronic blips and screeches, while Wes Borland (Primus) lays down some of the heaviest guest bass ever heard on an Epitaph release. Indeed, this whole album is heavier than its predecessor by a factor of 10, at least. It's a step up in every way: The noise is noisier, the guitar riffs are more bludgeoning, the vocals fiercer and twice as committed to selling the lyrics as to shredding the singer's throat for show. Heroine is a serious work of post-hardcore art, as mind-blowing and genre-redefining as Botch's 2000 masterpiece We Are the Romans. From First to Last has thrown down the gauntlet.