Story of the Year
The Constant


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
February 15th, 2010 | 68 replies | 16,670 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 2010 may be a new year, but The Constant is the same old story. You decide if that is a good or bad thing.

It was difficult not to feel for Story of the Year following the release of their third LP ‘The Black Swan’. For a band that had been criticized for a lack of progression and variety, the St. Louis quintet admirably attempted to take a rather large step forward. While a couple of pleasant surprises did eventuate, the results were ultimately heavy-handed, culminating in arguably their weakest release yet. The recording process for that album clearly took its toll, with the band wanting to “just have fun, be spontaneous and make it exciting” fourth time around on ‘The Constant’. Taking the “regression = progression” approach sees Story of the Year near replicate their debut LP ‘Page Avenue’. It’s all there; from the aggressively catchy melodies to the genre-mixing.

The similarities between the two releases even extend to the fact that each album’s highlight tracks are arguably its first four. Opener ‘The Children Sing’ uses the gimmicky, but effective, ploy of having a children’s choir sing its chorus of “Don’t take this world away from me”, as it is once more apparent that the usual social issues will be the predominant lyrical theme of ‘The Constant’. The heavier ‘To the Burial’ follows suit as it barnstorms through its verses towards an anthemic chorus of “Bleed us for their capital, lead us to the burial”. Lead single ‘I’m Alive’ is radio-ready hard rock that eventually gets going, while the superior ‘The Ghost of You and I’ best sums up the melodically aggressive sound which serves as Story of the Year’s mission statement.

While the remainder of ‘The Constant’ is undoubtedly competent, a case could be made that nothing too fresh is heard once the opening quartet of tracks have passed. ‘The Dream Is Over’ best showcases the proficient, though never ground-breaking, guitar-work of Ryan Phillips & Philip Sneed, while drummer Josh Willis is as accomplished as ever in driving hardcore circle-pit starters ‘Won Threw Ate’ and ‘Eye For An Eye’. Vocalist Dan Marsala also continues to gain confidence & control, as best heard on piano ballad ‘Holding On To You’ and the resolute ‘Ten Years Down’. In fact, the only genuine missed step is the strange ‘Remember A Time’, which sounds like an 80’s hair-metal band trying to reach #1 on the singles charts (anyone remember Slaughter?).

By their own admission, Story of the Year “didn’t over-think everything” on ‘The Constant’; a solid, if formulaic, LP which clearly adheres to the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) formula. It means that the troughs of ‘The Black Swan’ have been eradicated, resulting in a more focused & consistent effort, which will unquestionably please their loyal fans and add value to their energetic live show. However, it is also an album which comes off as best in the moment and a little too forgettable due to its lack of attention to detail. Too many aspects seem blunted for fear of overly offending anyone. Of course, that was initially the fun and catchy sound which got Story of the Year noticed, so it really is up to you whether the “same old story” is a good or bad thing.

Recommended Tracks: The Ghost of You and I, To the Burial, The Children Sing & Ten Years Down.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album seems to grow on me one minute, off the next, and then on again. Probably depends on my mood. Best to listen to when checking your head at the door.

10 bonus points to Waior for prediting my rating.

Review was delayed due to rewrites to balance things up a little.

More importantly, does anyone remember Slaughter? “Up all night, sleep all day”.

Ponton
Emeritus
February 15th 2010



5790 Comments


I was really surprised at how well The Children Sing worked out. I read quickly, but it was good.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I like the opener Jared. It's actually quite difficult to look past the children's choir and judge the song as a whole. I guess that's always a down-side when anything includes a gimmick.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ooh, those quotation marks look awful on the front page. I think I'll delete those.

BrahTheSunGod
February 15th 2010



1279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, pretty much sums up how I feel about this. I don't feel as much of the Page Avenue vibes as you though; instead I keep picking up a weird 80's-ish vibe in some spots (maybe its the synths in the background all over the place).

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Brah.

I'm with you on that 80's vibe to some extent (hence my mentioning of the band Slaughter I guess). I don't think it's the synths though. For me, I've always thought they are very hard-rock oriented (as opposed to the pop-punk/post-hardcore labels placed on them). Since the genre is dated to some degree, it also explains why SotY get a fair bit of hate.

IRAI
February 16th 2010



1567 Comments


UNTILLL THE DAY I DIIIIIIEEE!

nagstar89
February 16th 2010



71 Comments


Good review mate.Albeit the fact that Dan Marsala's vocals have vastly improved the rest of the band havnt shown much progression.Then again like you said songs like 'The ghost of you and i' and 'to the burial' are standout tracks.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 16th 2010



10195 Comments


agree very muchhhhhhh, great review

Phantom
February 16th 2010



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

best review for this album

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Good review mate.Albeit the fact that Dan Marsala's vocals have vastly improved the rest of the band havnt shown much progression."

Thanks nagstar. The thing is, I believe the band do have it in them... Especially the 2 guitarists, who were rather impressive when I saw them live 2 years ago. I think it's more the songwriting which doesn't allow them to flourish.

"agree very muchhhhhhh, great review"

Why thank you Adam. I'd be surprised if you rate this above a 3 though.

"best review for this album"

Ta Phantom. I thought I was going to breeze through this review as I had my opinion pretty much worked out quickly... But putting it into (balanced) words took longer than I expected.

LG
February 17th 2010



3049 Comments


Gah 80's hair-metal! Were not trying to scare away the children Davey.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You know me Libson... I'd work 80s hair-metal into every review if I could. It's mainly just the one song here though & it is the album lowlight.

LepreCon
February 18th 2010



3882 Comments


I like this, good review DaveyBoy

Digging: Overkill - White Devil Armory

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good to hear Conor... & thanks.

Thought this would average out to about a 3 rating.

LG
February 18th 2010



3049 Comments


I think I shall avoid this, and instead focus on much more awesome things.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I shall allow you to focus on other things... No choice from the moment I put the words "You decide..." in the summary.

LG
February 18th 2010



3049 Comments


and so I shall...Also you must definitely listen to Sights & Sounds...you have no say in the matter btw.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just wiki'd Sights & Sounds. It came up blank. That means they do NOT exist. ;-)

LG
February 18th 2010



3049 Comments


It's a conspiracy i tells ya...Bloc, this is all Bloc's doing ;)



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