Review Summary: Despite some major cliches, We Came as Romans manages to create a fun, workable album.
Though I live in Michigan -- which is where this six-piece group hails from -- I'd never heard of this band until mid-2010. And at first listen, I wrote them off as a slightly better Attack Attack! and a significantly better Enter Shikari. Perhaps my initial response -- however correct it may be on a musical level -- was a little harsh. What they lack in the musical creativity department, they significantly make up for in depth and lyrics. Not to mention, screamer David Stephens can really belt out the deep growls.
Opener "To Plant a Seed" starts out strong, with driving guitars and a typical double-bass influenced drums. Breakdown after breakdown occur, mixed in with slightly overdone gang vocals. Yet, what makes this such a catchy opener is the actual interesting use of electronics. Where it falls flat on its face with AA! and most other bands who attempt such an often silly thing, this opener alone blows away most to all songs ever attempted to incorporate metal and electronica. It fits, and it's catchy. And Kyle Pavone's obvious auto-tuned voice works too, sometimes.
Songs like "Dreams", "Broken Statues" and "Intentions" all hit hardest, with powerful verses and gut-wrenching guttural vocal deliveries from Stephens. "Roads That Don't End And Views That Never Cease" delivers possibly the best lyrics on the album, and one the catchier choruses present. At times, however, Pavone's auto-tuned vocals becomes rather irritating, especially towards the end. Yet, when he sings such heartfelt lyrics as "But 24 hours could last me for months/Maybe I can take this strain" it's easy to forgive him.
Contrary to most post-hardcore bands today, the theme here is love, and acceptance. Oh, and brotherhood. In "Dreams" we find Stephens powerfully shouting "Beloved, let us love another" and Pavone passionately singing "I know that you are forever my brother/Here I struggle with you my brother." It's kind of refreshing to find a band not so darn depressing. In a lyrical sense, this is the anti-Senses Fail (not that I'm complaining about Senses Fail; I love me some Senses Fail).
Production is decent, yet I find it too comparable to Sturgis's other work, and this otherwise fine album suffers from it. From a musical standpoint, they're capable musicians, yet they bring nothing new to the table. Some songs run together, and get overly monotonous. However, there are enough powerful tracks on here to make this album worth repeat listens. As for their next album, which should be out next year, count this reviewer pleasantly optimistic.