Review Summary: A Day To Remember tread the same ground with a new found energy
A Day To Remember: Everyone’s favourite pop punk/metalcore mash-up band. Nothing epitomises the phrase “you either love them or you hate them” than this group of 5 small town Floridians (is that even a word?). Personally, as a huge fan of the band, I have been waiting almost 2 years since they announced that there would be a new album in December 2011. Touring and legal issues with their label led to this long delay but the question is: has the wait been worth it?
Well, yes and no. This is still an ADTR record, so if you didn’t like them before, you won’t like them any more by listening to this new album. The band uses the same formula of catchy pop punk riffs, great vocals and (arguably) arbitrary breakdowns, i.e. he same formula they have used on every album prior, though they now lean towards pop punk more than metal. However, I did notice one thing from the very first note that lacked in both Homesick and What Separates Me From You: energy. Right out of the gate, the album opens with a resilient “*** yeah!” and kicks off with 3 of the catchiest and most energy-filled songs in recent ADTR history. Despite using the same old formula, City of Ocala, Right Back At It Again and Sometimes You’re The Hammer put a huge smile on my face and made me want to jump up and mosh around my room. Dead and Buried continues this trend with more screaming this time around; a general trend of the album, and the band did say that this would be a step in a heavier direction. Best Of Me still has energy for a slightly slower song with clean vocals. I’m Already Gone is an acoustic track that brings the tempo down but still doesn’t feel out of place and makes for a welcome break from the normal song style and structure. ADTR then bring the energy back up with possibly the best song on the album, Violence. Despite the anti-violence lyrics, this would not be out of place in the fight scene of an action movie. Life at 11 brings back the slower and clean style of Best Of Me and is another strong track. I Surrender is the second track containing acoustics and while it does build up to a heavier conclusion and is not a bad song in itself, I feel as though this should have been placed later on the track list. Much like 2nd Sucks from their previous record, the song Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way just seems like an arbitrary two minute long breakdown and scream fest, to please the hardcore crew. While not a bad song in itself, it could have done with being left off the track list. However, this energy is not consistent all the way through. End Of Me is the third slow track which starts off acoustic, and I just feel as though that is one acoustic track too many. The Document Speaks For Itself brings back the energy but I feel that the lack of distinguishing features from the other tracks brings the quality down a bit. The album closes with I Remember, a slow closer, and is not a bad way to end the album, though I personally would have switched this track with I Surrender.
A Day To Remember have found a new energy (albeit slightly inconsistent) which really shines through on this album, whether it came from their label dispute with Victory Records (this album seems to be a huge middle finger to their label and those who ever doubted them) or sheer determination to succeed. This probably won’t change your mind about ADTR - as you will either love this or be incredibly uninspired – but as Jeremy McKinnon boldly states in Sometimes You’re The Hammer, “You don’t have to like me but you’ve gotta respect me” and respect them I do. Kudos for sticking it to the man called Victory Records and kudos for sticking with the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. This may very well be just another ADTR record and whether you’re a fan or not, it will sell, but their new found energy means that the ADTR cow hasn’t been milked dry just yet.