Crustaceans (Crustacea) are defined as a diverse and expansive group of arthropods that are usually regarded as a subphylum, and classified by the larval form nauplius rather than the more conventional standards of anatomy. Some of these creatures, like prawns, lobsters, shrimp, and crab have become common ingredients in cuisine worldwide, particularly in Asia (and more specifically China), which is not surprising, really (they are meat, people eat meat.). But what is surprising is that crustaceans have also transferred into other fields besides culinary arts; in example, the field of music has been affected by this Ranking as one of the more prominent sub-subgenres (a fusion between electronic music and metalcore), "crabcore" is an awkward juxtaposition which has skyrocketed bands like Attack Attack! to flavor-of-the-week notoriety. And what an unfortunate notoriety it is.
Attack Attack! formed in 2005 in Westerville, Ohio, and were soon after signed to the infamous Rise Records thanks to their self-released EP, If Guns Are Outlawed, Can We Use Swords?
However, it was not until the release of their highly-criticized video for "Stick Stickly" that the band's crab-like dance moves created said portmanteau. Now, though outlandish in theory, the claim was apt for the band's rather well... idiotic dance moves. In their defense, no one conducts a mosh quite like Attack Attack!, but then again who would choose to squat while headbanging to overtly simplistic breakdowns? Who would wish to two-step to sugary synths and excessive auto-tune? So, it was certainly surprising when Someday Came Suddenly
became such a hit. Regardless of its popularity, the album was still poorly received by critics and a boat load of other people, thus causing some to doubt that Attack Attack! would (or if they could, rather) ever recover or improve. So of course, interest arose when the band announced that their eponymous sophomore release was scheduled for release in June, 2010, even more so when the single "Sexual Man Chocolate" (and we thought they were Christians) was released.
Now, though most would never have thought that they would have actually enjoyed an Attack Attack! song, suspicion arose as to whether all of these preconceived notions towards the band were just illusions because, well, "Sexual Man Chocolate" wasn't all that bad. Sure, most of the components of Attack Attack!'s sound hadn't left them, and they still relied too heavily on breakdowns, but it showed progression. Comprised of diffuse piano chords and what was mostly tolerable metalcore, "Sexual Man Chocolate" wasn't necessarily a great track, but it was most certainly a step in the right direction. Of course the lyrics were still beyond trite ("Show me your loyalty" is repeated ad. nauseam), but they were still better than the likes of "Bro, Ashley's Here." However, if using that song alone as a placeholder for what was to come, that wouldn't have been as terrible as expected. Sure, those who thrive off music forums and sites such as this won't really be interested, but the band will certainly accumulate a much larger, if less-scene savvy fan base because of this album. It's a move which, of course, could be seen as a proverbial baby step, even if it took five years to accomplish.
But how is that, exactly?
Several flaws which plagued the band's debut album have essentially been eradicated. The vocoder is used to a lesser extent - almost entirely omitted - in order for the band's vocalist to sound less like T-Pain and more like a run-of-the-mill pop-punk vocalist. Of course, there's the dissonant chug and breakdown, but never before have they been used so effectively. And luckily the monotonous out-of-tune growl has had its pitch adjusted, as to make repetition its only flaw. Unfortunately, the band is still attempting to win the hearts of former fans everywhere with tawdry and upbeat choruses (my love will not set you free, Attack Attack!), and constant rehash, but they're most definitely improving.
But is that saying much?
No, it's not. Sure, the band has gone with their strengths on this record (note: their strengths aren't so much strengths as they are things which are inoffensive), but as "Renob, Nevada" (yes, that's "boner" backwards, hardy har har) proves, their metalcore attributes can, and on several occasions they do, fail. The drums use a gross amount of double-bass, and there's a completely inappropriate amount of breakdowns, yet again. Sure, sometimes the guitars pull a frenetic riff or two out of nowhere, but it's always either repeated to an unreasonable extent, or it's been done before by other artists to an unreasonable extent. Take for example, the aforementioned album opener and "A For Andrew," which are perfect instances where the band's formulaic tendencies tire. They're perpetuating not only what they have done before, but what every other band has done before, and will undoubtedly do again. It's for this reason that a band who's showing they do indeed have all the elements to be a mundane, completely average metalcore band is not fulfilling their potential. It's not so much that they're completely incapable of their craft; they're just letting the crop of unassuming "flavor-of-the-weak" acts get the best of them. They're letting popularity take priority over results, and for that reason, Attack Attack!
is just another poor effort on the part of many an indistinguishable metalcore act. It's shameful, indeed.