Review Summary: These guys make me feel young again...I
f you’re familiar with the hardcore scene you’ve most likely heard of Set Your Goals. With this being said the fans of bands such as Husker Du, Minor Threat, Gospel, Bane, Terror, (etc) you might love or hate Set Your Goals. For those who are totally new to the band Set Your Goals bring the best melodies of pop-punk and combines it with the always uprising tempo and chants of hardcore. With this being said the popularity of this genre has grown drastically with scene kiddo’s two stepping and bringing karate kicks to bands like A Day To Remember, Evergreen Terrace, and Four Year Strong- all while bringing their sing-a-longs. The band brings a positive and uplifting message in lyrics and pumps up the listener with memorable lyrics and easy sing-a-longs. With the success of “Mutiny!”
I came in with many others of high hopes and curiosity on how they could succeed on an album that in my eyes was fun, catchy, and loveable. With this being said I found myself with more of the same of what “Mutiny!’ brought with fresher appeal and some intriguing guest stars. If you found the previous albums to be wholly enjoyable than waste no time in picking up “This Will Be the Death of Us” because it’s a renewal on a lot of the same elements that make the band so memorable and fun.
The Death Of Us
For new listeners, Set Your Goals is outfitted with two vocalists who take their licks in the verses and combine melodies in the chorus’s. They come at lightning pace most of the time and have very different qualities in vocals. Matt Wilson (the mousey looking one) comes in verses heartfelt and fills in a lot of background melodies. Jordan Brown does more of the talking episodes and still does his best impression of a melodic singing which feels more like passionate talking. The first song is the title track (“This Will Be the Death of Us”) starts out with a drum roll and swelling feedback from guitars. As soon as the bass leads the riffing in its hard not to want to do a jumping roundhouse kick. It’s NOFX like pace will want you to circle around until you puke. When the vocals fill in Matt tells a story of starting out in the band and the conflicts needed to overcome as a band. The vocals will either wear or grow on you depending on the type of person you are and you’ll notice this as soon as the first song. The hardcore/pop-punk riffing and speed will be easily acquired by any fan of hardcore and leaves no secrets. The real present comes after a small interlude and the last verse being sung by Vinnie Caruana formerly of The Movielife. I’m a Long Island native and love this guy’s voice. It’s edgy but not really screamy but it comes at you with such a high attack. I felt as if the two dual vocals were sounding pretty bland overall in this song but as soon as he comes in he rips the song on a whole new level. The song appropriate welcomes the listener with the words “This Will Be The Death Of Us”. “With Hoffman Lenses We Will See the Truth” transitions smoothly and is only 35 seconds long with Matt talking over a repeated guitar riff. If you don’t look down you won’t even notice that it’s actually a different track (filler) from the first song.
“Look Closer” is where Set Your Goals goes into what they do best. Catchy chugging riff with ALMOST rapped out rhymes that don’t sound too corny but flow flawlessly. Fans of “Mutiny!” could probably be confused of this song being an extra track off of that album because it contains all the goodness of the standard song of that album- catchy lyrics, chants, and winding down instrumentals. The guitar solo in this song is a nice breath of fresh air but nothing to flashy. The song winds down on the same pace it wound up, very fast and head bobbingly. “Summer Jam” is titled very appropriately. It’s exactly what the title suggests. It’s one of my favorite songs off of this album with the lyrics being about touring two years ago, and maturing in the process. The song is very fun and bouncy with different elements in the instrumentals. Second verse blends a swelling feedback from the guitars and a moving bass riff. I can’t help to think of Eminem how fast the interlude is sung which is a good and bad thing (I guess?). The whole song is like a photo album of the band’s previous tours through the lyrics. “Like You To Me” is very fast and up tempo right after the long and Saves The Day-esque intro riff. The pace will be loved by anyone who runs aimlessly in a circle pit. The vocals are just as relentless as before when it comes to speed with Matt Wilson just lagging a little behind Jordan’s words.
The chorus seems really corny in this song and is definitely not the band’s best. The breakdown with the layering of the guitar solo is worth listening too though and shows the evolution of this band instrumentally. The last chorus with the kick drum solo is also very uprising and tasteful.
“The Fallen” starts up with swollen feedback and goes off on what appears to be a darker note. As soon as the vocals start the same jumping kick I did in “The Death of Us” occurs here. The words and rhymes here flow a lot better than the previous track and make you want to sing along with the band. For anyone who thinks it’s homosexual to do such its so god damn hard not to with this band. This song displays that quality of the band best. During the interlude I love the bass being audible boinging around. A lot of the bands in this genre seem to forget about the bass especially those metal acts that blend hardcore that everyone seems to love on sputnik. “The Few That Remain” is single quality. It’s very thrashy and slowed down for EVERYONE to know the words too. Oh baby Hailey Williams from Paramore is in this and I got really excited (in the pants too). Overall this song is very standard from the band in song construction but as soon as it circles with the 2nd verse. Hailey Williams comes in and if you ever listened to Paramore you will know her by her sexy voice (and ass). She does her best impression of a hardcore vocalist (it’s lol) but nonetheless its Hailey Williams and her singing voice fits the songs melody much better. Once again not a total loss and adds a lot of flavor having such a different voice every few songs. “Equals” sounds like much of the same with a variety of different riffing. By now if you’ve had enough of the vocals or found them irritating you’d probably quit. One of the problems of this band is that it has dual vocalists but only really know one speed- UPBEAT & QUICK. This causes a lot of the songs to blend in with one another and even some of the songs from the older albums to blend in with each other. I figure though if you enjoy any type of Hardcore music that most enjoy repetition in style… For me personally though I like it to be catchy but also fresh with some unpredictability.
For all you NFL Madden gamers this is a song you’re going to be hearing a lot when you’re failing against the NY Giants. “Gaia Bleeds” will be on the track list of Madden ’10 and it’s an extremely tight song. It makes you want to dance right from the beginning going on a harder direction and the vocals even felt screamed. This song seems like a song that should be released by “A Day To Remember” but since I like both of those bands I’m loving it. It’s a harder song on the album and very chug worthy. This might all be because Jon Gula formerly of Turmoil
is doing some screaming in the interlude and chorus’s. This might be the album of the year for guest stars- I love that. “Flawed Methods Of Prosecution & Punishment” is all about the little things. Yes, as you might expect it’s much of the same in the previous songs but different tempo changes and different types of sing-a-longs will make it a worthy song. The song also sends a message about individuality and growing. People who like posi-hardcore get off on THIS!!!
“Arrival Notes” is the other filler track on “The Death Of Us” it features an acoustic and solo guitar ballad. It lasts at about a minute long and is a nice soothing listen from the speed of the majority of the album. It leads into the last song of the album “Our Ethos: A Legacy To Pass On” is the epic ender of “The Death Of Us”. It features all of the best features of the album and is an excellent to leave the listener wanting for more. The whole song in its own has a feeling of being the last track and is a tornado to the end.
The guitar plays some interesting harmonics and overall showcases an evolution in the band’s new members and talent.
Set Your Goals might not be breaking any new boundaries besides its dual vocal attack but it does everything else in a profoundly catchy presence. These albums are meant to be shared with your friends and being able to relate to the lyrics while having fun and listening. These guys aren’t flooded out with breakdowns or auto tuned vocals, they are raw and real doing what they want. I think a lot of kids who enjoy inside the box hardcore will love this band if they can get over the high vocals. There aren’t any vocals from this band that don’t sound like the typical teenager who wants to play hardcore music.
If you come in expecting something heavy like the guy from Throwdown or Terror sounding like he’s drinking muscle milk while screaming you won’t be disappointed. If you’re into pop-punk you’ll be more of a sure fire hit for vocals alone and the reason of that is because this band suits its strong comings within them. Overall I feel like this band took a baby step in the right direction without going too risky and probably being too conservative but because of the guest appearances and fresh songs I hold this album higher than anything they’ve done so far and I loved Mutiny!
+Bring energy on a recorded CD
+Something different vocally for the genre
+Just as catchy as before
-Repetition all the way around
Original Release Date: July 21, 2009
Set Your Goals is:
Vocals- Matt Wilson
Vocals- Jordan Brown
Guitar- Dave Yoha
Guitar- Audelio Flores
Bass- Joe Saucedo