Review Summary: Ambitious and massive in scale, We Came Out Like Tigers prove with their full length debut that they can proudly wear their band name.
Hailing from Liverpool, screamo act We Came Out Like Tigers have had a prolific rate of releasing material since their inception. Their 2011 Self-Titled debut found them playing a generic brand of harsh screamo and their split 7" released that very same year found them introducing post rock and contemporary folk elements. With the 2012 release of their first full length Agelessness and Lack, they have finally become their namesake.
An introduction track expertly titled "An Introduction" opens up Agelessness and Lack with a banjo and violin and it is quickly apparent that there are some new influences at work here. After a wonderful spoken word section complimented by the new folk aspect and looming feedback, a roar belts out in the background and we are introduced to the first real track of the album, Sous Les Pavés La Plage. The overall vibe of this song lets us know this album is decidedly darker and more technical than previous offerings, being highly influenced by black metal and European folk/classical music.
The guitar work switches between aggressive tremolo picking, highly influenced by black metal, to melancholy clean sections with great ease. Many of the tracks open with beautiful clean tones on guitar before exploding into a hardcore fury and style that is reminiscent of fellow genre mates So Hideous, My Love. Much of the heavier guitar work is rhythmic or tremolo picked and serves as a backdrop for the vocals. It is during the clean sections that the guitar finds its more interesting melodies aiding the violin. Complimenting the guitars on the rhythm end are the bass and drums. Typically, the bass will follow the guitars and while it doesn't do anything impressive on its own, the bass is heard clearly and has a crisp tone. Complimenting the low end are the excellent drums. They pound away with fury and showcase skillful talent on tracks suck as Take Pleasure in the Processes ranging from thrashing beats and fills to somber snare hits during the clean sections.
Violins are certainly no stranger to screamo, but they are typically only featured in brief moments such as an outro of a song rather than being full fledged members. Bands often find difficulty using such stringed instruments as the songs quickly become about finding ways to incorporate them and less about forming the best song possible. On Agelessness and Lack, the other instruments are not harmed by the inclusion of this as each instrument is utilized to its fullest potential and the violin adds a very unique and almost haunting atmosphere that is a very welcome addition to the mix. If You Were Frightened, It's Because It Was Frightening showcases the violin at it's absolute most emotional.
Aiding the violin in many of its sections are the vocals. On prior offerings, they were extremely harsh and distorted but would occasionally switch into clean territory with a slight yell. They weren't integral to the mix though and could easily be taken out. On Agelessness and Lack, the vocals find themselves just as crucial to the mix as the other instruments. Desperate and filled with conviction, the vocalist screams every word with the most believable of passion. Often times, there are clean vocals that accompany the softer sections and they simply add to the sorrowful atmosphere. One listen to Remember Why You Are will surely yield repeated listens for the memorable intro and the chanting behind the desperate cries during the bridge.
Featuring unbridled emotion from every instrument, Agelessness and Lack should find itself on any screamo fans end of the year list. With a wide range of influences and the inclusion of unconventional instruments such as banjos, violins and accordions found on tracks such as closer I Sing of Sorrow and Joy, each repeated listen is bound to reveal new details. We Came Out Like Tigers find themselves and this release inspiring in part due to the sheer amount of progression from the year prior and with how beneath the pavement, there lies a beach.