Four Year Strong
Enemy of the World


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dante Alighieri USER (85 Reviews)
March 4th, 2010 | 40 replies | 7,813 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Your Newest Guilty Pleasure

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

The cliché paragraph about the genre: nope, here’s Four Year Strong.

“Don’t fix it if it hasn’t broken yet”

When you hear those words sang in Enemy of the Worlds opening track ‘It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now’ you will definitely think this by the end of the album; they didn’t take their own advice. Four Year Strong came bursting into the over flooded pop/punk scene back in 08 with their debut Rise or Die Trying and while these five positive, beard-wielding gentlemen had the best intentions, their self stylized ‘happy hardcore’ blend of mainstream friendly pop and chugging hardcore just fell flat on its face. The sugary gimmicks, the overproduction, and the overly flamboyant bright colors might be able to satiate the average twelve year olds taste in music but leaves the rest of the population with just a sugar-induced cavity. With that being said, Four Year Strong already had quite a hole to dig themselves out of when the cover album ‘Explains it All’ came out in the summer of 09. Not only was it unnecessary, it was subpar and hinted to the masses that maybe Four Year Strong’s musical creativity to craft new and fresh songs had ran out, the hole seemed to have been dug six feet underground. But now the year is 2010 and Four Year Strong takes their next swing at the base with Enemy of the World and in an amazing feat of musicianship and creativity they have blasted this one into the top bleachers and out of the damn park.

To call Four Year Strong ‘unique’ is a grievous error. They play a stylized blend of melodic hardcore that has been around since the 90s with bands like Lifetime and Kid Dynamite and has seen a resurgence with bands like A Day to Remember, New Found Glory and, of course, Set Your Goals. But the thing that makes Enemy of the World a standout album in this sea is a list of factors. Four Year Strong have taken all the errors and problems that plagued Rise or Die Trying (which were substantial) and they didn’t just improve them, the completely redesigned it. Four Year Strong have given us eleven anthems of pure energy and youthful enthusiasm that not only beat out Set Your Goals sophomore album ‘This Will Be the Death of Us’, it sets the bar for other bands that few others will most likely reach. Every track on this album is memorable and uplifting, we find no respite, no breaks in this album. Track by track from the Fall Out Boy-esque track ‘On A Saturday’, to the fiery anthem of ‘What the Hell is a Gigawatt?’ to the Motion City Soundtrack inspired ‘Flannel is the Color of My Energy’ Four Year Strong proves that you can take the best that the pop/punk genre can offer, increase the speed to 100 BPS and craft one of the most electrically charged albums offered in a long time.

Here is what makes Enemy of the World such an excellent album. A problem that plagued Rise or Die Trying was the copious amounts of polished production that was heaped upon the instruments. Layer after layer of crystal clear guitars, drums and synths added to the auto-corrected tune of vocalists Dan O’Connor and Alan Day made the listen of their debut to be a choking event. With their sophomore album, Four Year Strong has substantially trimmed down the in-studio production layering. While far from being considered ‘raw’, the production has now taken a backseat to the band and it gives credit to the prowess of the individual band members. Instead of overly polished production we are treated to a more wall-of-sound assault of blaring, over amplified guitars cranked to the max that bands such as Set Your Goals and Lifetime are more accustomed to. The overly layered vocals have also all but disappeared; this now forces vocalists O’Connor and Day to project much more loudly then felt in Rise or Die Trying, giving the album a much needed ‘kick in the pants’ that was painfully lacking in their debut. Keyboardist Josh Lyford has also stepped up to the vocal plate, delivering a hardcore edge to the album with his exceptional yells that sound genuine and heartfelt (listen to ‘What the Hell is a Gigawatt’). Every aspect in songwriting and musicianship has improved extensively on this album; it’s hard to see that this was the same band that most wrote off as a trendy, scene-girl gimmick.

At the end of the day, is this album worth your time? Definitely. While it might not be enough to change your opinion of the genre, it will not be said that Four Year Strong came out with their guns blazing on this album: they’ve rolled up the flannel sleeves and have pulled the new-era hat back. Aggressive, heavy and heartfelt, Four Year Strong prove that they can take criticism and throw it back in our face with eleven blistering hot tracks of solid melodic hardcore. Set Your Goals and Polar Bear Club are now fading and sound dim; ‘cause its Four Year Strong year to shine. Enemy of the World will carry us from the coldness of winter and bring us straight into summer and will probably go farther then that. A truly impressive album, this is your newest guilty pleasure. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Four Year Strong and they have never sounded better.



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user ratings (653)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
J. Ponton EMERITUS (4)
Sounding two and a half years stronger than last time...

Daniel King (4)
The album artwork says it all....

doug (3.5)
omg pop-core...


Comments:Add a Comment 
cvlts
March 4th 2010



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

stream: http://www.myspace.com/fouryearstrong
first review in 5 months.
didnt have enough time to fully proof read.
be kind.


good to be back.

jesusjuice1179
March 4th 2010



1784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lolz when i saw the album cover i thought they were gonna be a metal band, i am severely disappointed that they aren't

cvlts
March 4th 2010



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

lol metal is fairies and centaurs?

jesusjuice1179
March 4th 2010



1784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well i couldn't see it that well...and the name of the band and album also threw me off quite a bit

Ponton
Emeritus
March 4th 2010



5790 Comments


Very nice review, dante. There are a few grammar/punctuation areas, but content-wise, this is stellar. Love that intro too. Sorry I couldn't get up with you on the proofing. Pos.

cvlts
March 4th 2010



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

really appreciate it, Jared. I'll hit you up on my next one, shouldn't be too far down the road.
Album really is awesome.

Relinquished
March 4th 2010



24929 Comments


Good review, Mike Jones. Nice to see you're back

Ponton
Emeritus
March 4th 2010



5790 Comments


I'm signed up to review this for another site, and I'm really enjoying the stream. Definitely a big step up from their debut. The guitar distortion that's been amped up this time is great.

cvlts
March 4th 2010



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

sup Relinquished. good to be back. don't even know half the people here anymore
lol

yeah Jared everything on the album got turned up. Whether it was a lack of production or intentional, not sure; but it sounds sooo much better



couch
March 4th 2010



311 Comments


every time i listened to it, it just got worse and worse. i wanted to like it bad... but it was probably the biggest disappointment i've had in a while. but thats just me.

tapitforever
March 4th 2010



1243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i REALLY enjoyed this the first time around. 4 for now

cvlts
March 4th 2010



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thats odd couch, esp when you gave rise or die trying a 4. guess ya cant please em all, eh?

Damrod
Moderator
March 5th 2010



1093 Comments


Hm, I really dig Set Your Goals and checked out these guys as Last.fm stated they're similar. And I must say: I can seriously not stand the vocals through a whole song.

I shall give them another chacne though. Good review!

cvlts
March 5th 2010



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

hey dude, really appreciate it! =]]
yeah definately give it another listen. the vocal approach to this album is quite a bit different, they've actually started to belt out their lyrics instead of that crappy popcore singing in rise or die trying.

sspedding
March 5th 2010



4754 Comments


vocals are shit on this. Good review.

himynameisjustin
March 5th 2010



40 Comments


I'm trying to let this album grow on me a bit. What the Hell is a Gigawatt? took me by complete surprise when the bass came chugging in.

HighandDriving
March 5th 2010



3288 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not nearly as good as Rise Or Die Trying.

sspedding
March 5th 2010



4754 Comments


agree.

cvlts
March 5th 2010



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

subjectivity is a bitch.

oh hey! a neg

ihopeuchoke
March 5th 2010



668 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Four Year Strong came bursting into the over flooded pop/punk scene back in 08 with their debut Rise or Die Trying..."


Rise or Die Trying wasn't their debut! *facepalm*



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