Review Summary: With many blows along the way, Attack Attack! releases a decent sophomore album that strays far away from their earlier roots.
Attack Attack! (at the time of recording) is:
Caleb Shomo - Lead Vocals / Keyboard/Synth
Johnny Franck - Rhythm Guitar / Clean Vocals
Andrew Whiting - Lead Guitar
John Holgado - Bass
Andrew Wetzel - Drums
The history of Attack Attack! is one that should be presented in a timeline. So, allow me to help you picture this all.
June 2008 - AA! is signed to Rise Records.
Summer 2008 - AA! records their debut with Joey Sturgis.
November 16th 2008 - Vocalist, Austin Carlile is no longer in the band, bringing dismay to fans.
November 2008 - Debut album "Someday Came Suddenly" is released, to mixed reviews.
2009 - Nick Barham takes over Vocal duties. Fans disaprove highly.
(also) 2009 - AA! has their first headlining tour.
June 2009 - Stick Stickly video debuts. Criticized for Barham lip-syncing Carlile's vocals. Brings about "Crabcore" label.
Summer 2009 - Warped Tour. Live performance is highly criticized by fans.
October 2009 - Barham quits as vocalist. Caleb Shomo takes over vocals.
Late 2009 - "Sexual Man Chocolate" debuts in the AA! live set. Interesting reviews.
March 2010 - AA! headlines Artery Foundation Tour bringing about a new swagger, and starts playing new song "AC-130".
June 8 2010 - AA! is set to release their newest album, "Attack Attack!" on Rise Records.
Attack Attack!'s story is one that is interesting. Austin Carlile was adored by the fans, and after he was no longer in the band, it seemed that all had gone downhill for them. Not to mention, the music was suspect to begin with. Most songs off of "Someday" follow the Intro-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-BREAKDOWN formula. AA's abuse of breakdowns and autotune was not receipted well, at first. Barham in the band, was a horrible idea, as it gave off a horrible image. And crabcore? Where do I start. All that matters, is that AA! sat down and worked out a new system. If something's not working, fix the source, and it appears that Attack Attack! has fixed some problems with this new release.
One of the immediate things one could tell from myspace streams of "Sexual Man Chocolate" and "Renob, Nevada" (yes, that is boner spelled backwords), is the new aggressive, "in your face", attitude that AA! is introducing. The decision to write in Drop B (low guitar tuning used by Parkway Drive, I Killed the Prom Queen, etc.) automatically gives the songs a harder hitting edge that the previous release just lacked. Also,
the use of little pitch correction on Johnny Franck's singing voice is noticeable too. In general, the overall sound of this album is heavier, and much different than "Someday", kind of reminiscent of For the Fallen Dreams.
The heavier songs include "AC-130", "A for Andrew", "Renob, Nevada". "AC-130" is simply an assault to the ears of metalcore riffing backed by Andrew Wetzel's steady double bass, and low vocals by Caleb. Caleb's vocals on the heavier sections of this song really help the overall feel of the album, and give AA! the new intensity that they now have to their name, particularly on stage. The chorus of "Renob" is certainly Caleb at his finest. The guitars on this record are well mixed, and showcase a lot more bass in the mixing. The riffing is straight metalcore licks, and is mixed well with good chord progressions and noodling by Andrew Whiting. Andrew Wetzel's drumming holds it's own on this album, which features a decent amount of double-bassing.
And now for the techno. The techno on this album is not a far stretch from other electrocore bands out there, but it is not bad, either. UK dubstep artist McSwagger makes an appearance on the techno-only track "Shut Your Mouth". The catchy beats are outlined eerie scratches and sound effects in the background. This track alone makes the album diverse to other metalcore acts, at the moment. The techno is found prominently in "Smokahontas", and "Fumbles O'Brian". "Fumbles" offers a shout out to "Someday" with Caleb and a highly autotuned Johnny (Oh, the irony) giving shout outs, reminiscent of "Hot Grills and High Tops". The track then kicks into gear with an upbeat chord progression and great screams by Caleb. Johnny's voice takes this track over with a catchy chorus, and an improved knack for singing, mainly. Johnny's growth as a singer is very apparent in almost every song.
Each song has it's good quality, and holds it's own on the album, whether it be by a catchy chorus, or a hard-hitting breakdown, or good techno lick. Which is why, not one song is really that awful. But don't get me wrong, there are some that just stick out way more. The introduction to a new style of dubstep used in this record surely will turn a few heads.
Is Attack Attack! there? Have they made it yet? Are they finally at the top of the hardcore scene?
No. No. And, not a chance. But, this album shows a great growth in musicianship, and you sure as hell will see a lot more heads at Warped Tour 2010 this year if you stop by their stage.
Finally, Is this all Attack Attack! has to offer?
No. But, this is a good indication of what is to come from this group of guys. It's a step in another direction, and not a bad step, at that.