Review Summary: I thought bands were meant to improve with each release...
So two years after their debut album, Attack Attack! finally came back with a self-titled second release. This time around they had a more focused sound and better wordplay, however, something had happened between albums: frontman Austin Charlie had been fired. After Austin left, the band hired new frontman Nick Barham and stuck with him for about a year. Once Barham left, who else would they bring in? Well, as fate would have it, Caleb Shomo, the keyboardist who only showed up slightly on the previous album, had been moved to frontman position. How does this new vocal style work with the band's style? Let's find out.
Released: June 8th, 2010
1. Sexual Man Chocolate
2. Renob, Nevada
3. "I Swear I'll Change"
4. Shut Your Mouth
5. A For Andrew
6. Smokahontas (single)
8. Fumbles O'Brian
9. Turbo Swag
Recall how I said this time around AA had a more focused sound? Said statement still stands true, but only on the harder tracks. I want to go ahead and get out of the way the two songs here which really don't fit at all: Shut Your Mouth and Fumbles O'Brian. The former is an very odd techno/dubstep/pop/dance song which seriously should never have been allowed to make the cut onto the album (seriously guys, what were you thinking?) while the latter features little screaming and some guest rapper who use's more autotune than AA does. and is almost as bad as the former. These two tracks are completely unenjoyable, which is a bit of a shame since the lyrics aren't too horrible.
As for the heavier song's on the album, well, these are where AA shines. Smokahontas, the only single, is perhaps the best out of all ten tracks. It's a heavier assault on your ability to mosh than Stick Stickly. The autotune isn't as high pitched, and Caleb's screams are at their best. I'm not going to say he is better than Austin was, but for what he can do he sure impresses. AC-130, while being short, is a nice chug-chug of a song. The rest of the song's sort of fall into that same area as some did on AA's first album: good, but not entirely great. Once again, word play has improved and the flow is nicer. Perhaps this is best shown in the first track, Sexual Man Chocolate (odd name). The heavy moments are very well done, making you once again pumped and wanting to jump around like an idiot. Then come's the clean vocal section: I give point's for the guy's for turning down the autotune a bit, but when they play clean section's they seem to lose a bit of steam.
I want to say again how well Caleb does here. Even on the tracks which may not really stand out, the high point's are almost always when he comes in for some screaming. Because of his change to frontman, his keyboards don't really show up much, though this does leave room for more drumming to show through, which is fine by me. Guitar and bass work is sometime better, sometime worse than before, depending on the song.
I think that actually sum's up this whole album.
When Attack Attack! get's those heavy sections, you can tell they have improved since 2008. But, with a few songs which don't stand out and those two horrible tracks (seriously guys, what the hell?) this self-titled offering falls short of even meeting the height of what cam before, much less surpassing it.
Sorry all you super hardcore Attack Attack! fans, their second album just isn't that good.