Review Summary: A lot to be enjoyed, but a lot of filler, and lacks major song writings skills. An above average listen none the less
Metalcore: A genre that has preceded itself in popularity, but do the majority of these bands truly show poten-
-Just Kidding! Though a generic intro paragraph would be fitting, I’ll spare you the cringe-worthy unoriginality. Unfortunately, the fact that this particular staple-introduction is so fitting, tells in itself what you should be expecting from this conglomeration of Devil Wears-Esque scenesters. “We Came as Romans” deploy their own niche of spacey metalcore, frequently garnishing minor successes along the way, achieved through copious amounts of production, layered vocal harmonies, and atmospheric synth and guitar passages. Head bobbing chug-a-lug sections find themselves sprinkled throughout, allowing gripping leads to really shine. The super-saturation of these devices get the better of their song writing in even the best of songs, however, and lead to a tedious listen to those not a fan of the genre.
The vocalist takes full charge in his assault of full and throaty screams. He pounds down effectively cooperating with the heavier sections, and diversifies his contextual usage in contrast with the lighter toned keyboard licks, diverging his otherwise monotonous and minuscule-ranged vocal delivery. The singer does his job in offering a full-force backup to the assault of guttural bellows. The clean vocals do find themselves becomeing over-bearing and tedious though, drastically ridden with auto-tune and layering. The production of the singing could be viewed as an attribute to the bands sound, but the complacent and generic vocal harmonies really do nothing to separate themselves from each song, causing the album to run together. On an individual song basis, the screaming and singing really weave through each other effectively, passing off roles to each other, and to other supporting melodic fronts, but most of this only adds up to mere potential.
The execution of the bands arsenal is poorly done, settling for mediocrity in the form of breakdowns. For me, the major flaws of the record don’t come from any one member of the band, excessive auto-tune, the overall sound, etc. I simply can not stand the lack of the adhesive quality that makes a song more then a mash-up of sound. I can do generic, I can deal with over-production, but when songs are no longer cohesive ideas, it transcends itself beneath the category of “art”, and more specifically, “music”. There are really two songs that can survive on their own, and then a couple half-songs, that have really good ideas, but are separated by a bad idea, or a randomly placed breakdown.
The album, like any other, features its stand out tracks. “To Plant a Seed” displays what this band has to offer in the most concise, and well written song on the album. “An Ever-Growing Wonder” features the catchiest chorus and most direct song structure the band has crafted. This, however, unfortunately only leaves a gap of 8 “songs” to fill the void of great Metalcore.
The album does manage to hold a listeners attention, via multiple jaw dropping “moments”, however. This includes the closing breakdown to “Intentions”, which features a string and horn section (I laughed) that reminisces purposefully of war. Also, the fluctuation from out of tune, to in tune in “I Will Not Reap Destruction”, is simply divine. There are many more gems like this, tastefully seasoning the listening experience. These are most likely beefed up to their maximum potential courtesy of producer Joey Sturgis, who more then likely has a streamlined influence on this albums final product then meets the ears, a la producer of similar sounding contemporaries, “The Devil Wears Prada’s, With Roots Above and Branches Below”. These gems are very hard to locate, as to track them to a single song is a daunting task, considering differentiating each song is remarkably challenging, even after a dozen or so listens.
At the end of the album, I am - given that this album really does have many flaws - satisfied with the listening experience. The sound this band has managed to acquire really shows a lot of depth and it feels like if this band breaks the chains of the phenomenon that is new-wave-metalcore, they could progress and create something truly amazing. As for now, this borders a 3/3.5 for me. I can see myself either coming to terms with the immature writing, and just enjoying it for what it is, or having this grow off of me exponentially. Let’s hope for the best, shall we?