Review Summary: The Genesi[s] era Woe, Is Me is a fall from grace in the most humiliating, juvenile and downright incompetent way.
In the interim between Genesi[s] and their debut LP, Woe Is Me had gone through a significant overhaul, replacing 4 of the 6 band members for one reason or another. With that in mind their 2012 effort is unsurprisingly different from previous full length Number[s] – and there’s nothing wrong with that. However almost everything else about the album has gone terribly wrong. Genesi[s] is abysmal, from its vision to its content to its execution. It’s the sonic equivalent to a prepubescent, angst-ridden temper tantrum with a price tag attached to it.
Genesi[s] is essentially an album declaring that the current incarnation of Woe, Is Me is the birth of the bands true identity and sound. Ironically and mildly entertaining is the fact that the potential they had garnered with their previous full length has in fact already died alongside the departure of those members who made Woe, Is Me a competent and respectable band. Genesi[s] is completely
devoid of focus and in it’s place is a metaphor less subtle than a swift brick to the face. The entire album is in address to the drama surrounding the loss of two prior vocalists without ever addressing them by name – a phenomenon strangely similar to two teenage girls arguing passively through indirect tweets or status updates. The album is very obviously pandering to the adolescent tendencies of their fanbase (or rather “[s] army”) and cashing out on the publicity surrounding the drama. There is absolutely no artistic integrity to be found in Genesi[s], as the band is clearly trying to circumnavigate the traditional selling points that define album success. Such as, you know, the music.
And the music is awful. Structurally, almost every song follows the same vocal patterns and buildups, delivered in the bore-inducing monotone stylings of harsh vocalist Doriano Magliano. Additionally the clean vocalist is rarely given a chance to shine, and even at his best cannot fill the shoes of prior vocalist Tyler Carter. The monotony peaks with the indistinguishable riffs reminiscent of that one Emmure song, and the lead guitar not only fails to deliver identity to each track but also actively denies it by making the songs sound so alike. There is still talent behind the drum kit, but playing to the mess that is 5/6 of the band renders that talent obsolete. Lyrically the album is riddled with profanity and is annoyingly juvenile in general. A shining example of this would be every word in the lead single “I’ve Told You Once.” The inclusion of string sections has returned from previous efforts albeit they now have glitchy undertones. While this is certainly an unexplored backdrop it is also certainly unrefined. It muddies up the music any chance it gets and often fights for attention behind the rest of the band.
Most of time within the modern metalcore scene a lot of albums can transcend their many technical flaws and redundancies by simply being a fun and entertaining listen, for what these bands share in common is excellence in simple and catchy songwriting more so than being musically inventive and groundbreaking. With the cookie-cutter formula that many metalcore bands are conforming to nowadays that fun aspect is the saving grace of the genre, as so many bands seem to have a grasp on it. Unfortunately Woe, Is Me fail at achieving any sort of fun whatsoever, giving Genesi[s] absolutely no redeeming value. Specifically “A Story To Tell” and “Nothing Left To Lose” are horribly contrived in this way, trying to pull off catchiness in a very unnatural way and ultimately failing at it.
The hooks are not catchy, the clean vocalist is so poorly utilized that he too contributes to the negativity and the music is a redundant snoozefest. Also the album is only 32 minutes in length, which is including an alternate version of one of the songs on the album. There’s no value to be found in even the most insignificant details of this release and that is a testament to the lack of inspiration, focus and chemistry in the current Woe, Is Me lineup. With the gift of potential and drive now thrown away with the many members of Woe’s past, the Genesi[s] era is a cruel and deserved exercise in irony. This is the worst album of 2012.