Review Summary: It's what was to be expected, more or less.
"The Motivation" really was a good start. Around a month before the album's release, the band decided to stream the track. I, as well as many other "disapprovers" of the band, thought that it was actually a very safe step in the right direction. It was heavy but not br00tal, it was simple, and easy to hold onto or digest if you will. I also appreciated the fact that the band was using an extra string.
But THIS MEANS WAR
. War is gritty, dirty, and nasty. Nothing will ever go to plan in war. Someone ***s something up somewhere, or there's a turning point caused from a miraculous disaster. Attack Attack! chose this topic: war. This is because everyone knows what to expect: a ***storm.
And oh god, the 80 MPH winds.
The band's frontman, Caleb, begs everyone to "Start the revolution!" in the very first track cleverly titled "The Revolution". (All songs follow this title format, adding to a concept the album is conveying. It should be noted that Memphis may fire who is on the same label as Attack Attack! used the same song title format earlier last year.) He repeats this 4 times until...the revolution has begun? The definition of a revolution must consist of a chugging rhythm section, followed by a different chug, followed by an uninspired chorus, followed by...actually, this just repeats. I'm not sold. This is not my kind of war. Also, breakdowns.
Throughout the entirety of the record, Caleb tries to show us through the emotion and anger of Attack Attack's music that this war is just too much for him to handle. Honestly, the lyrics are too childish and simple to be felt by anyone. "Start the revolution!" or "This means war!" or "I'll find you! (and make you regret yadda yadda yadda)" are some examples of the absolutely complex and abstract ideas the album touches upon. I promise you the lyrics do not evolve beyond that. Caleb constantly bellows about some girl he loves and the fact that he misses her. It seemed that he wanted to start a war, but immediately took it back. It doesn't necessarily help his problem with lyrical content when it's so apparent that his screams are amateur at best. He sounds like he's 15, screaming incorrectly, and ***ing his throat up. His cleans are quite developed, though.
The whole album isn't full of this kind of a sort of pathetic-ness, mind you. It is worth mentioning that the first track released from the album, “The Motivation”, is quite a simple and enjoyable 4 minutes off the record. It is ALSO worth mentioning though, that when Caleb proclaims he is "Never gonna give up hope" before the closing breakdown for the song (which quite rocks), it much more closely sounds like he is "Never gonna give a poop." I wish I can make that up. He says it 4 times too, making it the most memorable moment on the entire record. Hilarious. On the subject of good, but brief moments (um sort of?), "The Hopeless" is another song that does show a sort of focus. It is groovy in the vein of Memphis May Fire, and directed with at least some sense of charm the other tracks seem to be missing.
What does hold nearly all of the potential back, is the unwilling-ness of the band to break free from it's addiction to breakdowns. Every song's got 'em, and most of 'em aren't good. It's lazy. You can't be lazy IN A WAR. Get it TOGETHER. *clap clap*
Another disappointing and boring trend the album carries is having absolutely regrettably boring hooks or choruses. Entire song structures are just so bland and uninspired that one has to look toward the chorus to basically make the song. In turn and putting 2 and 2 together, almost each song is completely unmemorable in almost every way. The instrumentation all sounds the same throughout each song with ***ty grooves and simple chord progressions.
Attack Attack! is trying hard to find what they are. I respect the experimentation (in their case) to try and break everyone's opinions on what they used to be. However, this album falls way too flat. It's not an abysmal abortion or anything like that. It's just much too bland. There are a few points, grooves, or breakdowns on the album that work and sound damn good too. Of course, they are too few. If they scrapped 4/5 of the album and took some time to listen to some bands that do things similarly and admirably, then they could have had a chance to create a very solid record and establish an unexpected surge of positivity for themselves. Sadly, that won't be found here. It’s not like many people were expecting it.