Review Summary: Woe, Is Me basically did everything wrong on "Genesi[s]". It's a huge step backwards from "Number[s]"
Back in 2010, Woe, Is Me’s (WIM) debut album, “Number[s]”, was fairly well received by critics, mostly due to the groundbreaking, soulful vocals by clean vocalist Tyler Carter. The general consensus of the album was that it was good, but that the band needed experience playing together to fix a few discrepancies. Fast forward two years and WIM has managed to rotate through four different member lineups, including the departure of dual vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn. The past few years have been rough for WIM, but somehow they’ve managed to survive long enough to create a second album, “Genesi[s]”. Expectations were high for “Genesi[s]” and many fans considered it to be the “make-or-break” album of the band’s career. Sadly, “Genesi[s]” failed to meet the expectations of many fans.
“Genesi[s]” is best described as the soundtrack to the band’s life over the past year or so; which has not been an easy one. It starts out with a worthless, 30 second intro consisting of silly machine noises, which quickly lead into the down-tuned, overproduced breakdown festival that is “F.Y.I.”. The manic aggression displayed in “F.Y.I.” sets the tone for the rest of the album; however this aggression becomes boring after the first three songs. This is mainly because it sounds as if the same breakdown is being used over and over again, a common flaw with mediocre metalcore bands. The next song “A Story to Tell” starts out with the generic “transformer-like noise” that shows up way too many times throughout the album, then quickly transitions into a pop-punk/easy-core type breakdown. The riff used in this breakdown conveys an out-of-place sense of upbeat positivity. A quick, generic-metalcore changeup ensues, which defines the basic formula for the rest of the album. However, that small dose of pop punk shows up once more on the album during the song “Nothing Left to Lose” when WIM attempt to create a sing-song, “whoa oh whoa” gang vocals- type chorus which fails dreadfully due to how out of place it sounds compared to the rest of the song. Obviously, WIM are attempting to win over some of the easy-core fan base with these elements, nevertheless, it sounds ridiculous and unnecessary.
The first few tracks of the album also feel rushed; a reoccurring problem throughout most of “Genesi[s]”. Each song is filled with multiple layers of superfluous electronic noise; a major flaw of their previous album and one that I had hoped they would fix for “Genesi[s]”. However, according to WIM, you can never have enough overproduced garbage floating around your “make-or-break” sophomore effort. It’s not just the electronics that make this album unbearable at some points; it’s the production as a whole. I honestly don’t know what producer Cameron Mizell was thinking when he was working on “Genesi[s]”. The guitars sound like guitar samples found on a children’s keyboard, the drums are triggered and phony-sounding, and the album as a whole sounds like it was pieced together in just a few hours. Obviously, this isn’t all Cameron’s fault. The band had barely been a band before they entered the studio, which made the whole writing process difficult. Cameron then had to desperately stitch together all of the members’ ideas, which resulted in the manufactured and overly crowded juggernaut that is “Genesi[s]”.
The lyrics on “Genesi[s]” also happen to be generic and cliché. Since the drama filled departure of former vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn, and the creation of their new band “Issues”, the two bands have been battling back and forth via the internet, live shows, and now their lyrics, all in an attempt to show who the “real musicians” are. It seems that every single song on “Genesi[s]” is somehow related to the bashing of “Issues”. This could have been a fairly interesting topic to base an album around; however it doesn’t work out that way. The lyrics seem uninspired, uncreative, and generic. Not a single lyric out of all eleven songs on the album matches the creativity and swagger found on “Issues’” single “King of Amarillo”. At this point, it’s apparent that WIM are losing the war against “Issues”, the band that got the better half of the original WIM lineup anyways!
The vocals on “Genesi[s]” are nothing special either. The new unclean vocalist Doriano Magliano is the former vocalist for the late Rise Records catastrophe, “That’s Outrageous”. Doriano’s growls are past their prime and he sounds like he’s struggling to not blow his vocal cords at the end of each song. Clean vocalist Hance Alligood actually happens to be a fairly talented, though the majority of his appearances are uninspiring.. Most of the songs on “Genesi[s]” would be better off without clean vocals, which makes Hance sound worse than he actually is. The moments when Hance really shines are found on the last two songs of the album, neither of which have unclean vocals in them. One is an acoustic version of “Nothing Left to Lose”, and one features “Memphis May Fire” vocalist, Matty Mullins. These two songs are the best on the entire album and I would’ve loved to hear more of Hance’s voice without the clutter of the rest of the band. Altogether, the lyrics and vocals on “Genesi[s]” are a huge step backwards from “Number[s]”. Still, the clean vocals are nothing to sneeze at when they’re used properly.
When it comes down to it, “Genesi[s]” just wasn’t planned, produced, or handled well at all. The music itself is cliché and overdone. I suppose if more thought was put into “Genesi[s]” WIM would’ve taken more time to write the music, Cameron would've taken more time to produce the music, and Rise Records would've taken more time in deciding when to release the album. In my opinion, if this same album was released back in April or May, I think metalcore fans, including myself, would’ve cut WIM some slack. However, after hearing some fantastic releases by “Memphis May Fire”, “For All Those Sleeping”, “Motionless in White”, and many others prior to “Genesi[s]”, it makes “Genesi[s]” sound even worse than it actually is. Hopefully, if WIM are still a band two years down the road, they can create something more creative and original than “Genesi[s]”, preferably utilizing more of Hance’s vocals and less of the worthless production tricks.