Those of you who read my last review (the first Story of the Year album, Page Avenue) probably got the impression that I thought this was a pretty good band with some catchy songs, some catchy lyrics and decent creativity. I complained a lot about the fact that they ended all their songs with the chorus over and over and over again. I also said there weren’t many guitar solos (actually none), making it a bit less attractive, but I didn’t really complain about that much. I called them nu-metal for the screaming and not metal for the lack of solos.
That changed with this album.
I had previously never heard of this new SOTY album, just my friend mentioning it to me when we ran into each other at the movies, that he saw it somewhere online but it was not released at that time. He said the cover art was freaking hot and he wanted to buy it just because of that fact. I told him not to buy it just yet because if he didn’t like it, he would have wasted about 20 bucks. I just told him to buy it.
Story of the Year has changed some. Their lyrics contain some more meaning, their songs are a bit more creative and they have added guitar solos to their résumé. They don’t always end the song with the same thing over and over. It’s not like they didn’t have meaningful lyrics before, it’s just that these are, in my opinion, better. And about the guitar solos, I’ll just say that they aren’t too shabby.
This album was released on October 11, 2005.
Dan Marsala: vocals
Ryan Phillips: guitar
Phillip Sneed: guitar
Adam Russell: bass
Josh Wills: drums
1. We Don’t Care Anymore (3:31) – The album starts off with Dan singing, louder, with more and more urgency until he screams. They lyrics kinda contradict each other, and I think that’s been known as emotional (So we walk the longest days to live inside the shortest nights). The chorus has Dan singing “We don’t care anymore”, repeated, but it really is catchy. Power chords off the guitar amps ring out over a quiet and simple guitar riff, and that is over some solid drumming by Josh. At the bridge/interlude, Dan seems determined, singing “I won’t let this love die, I won’t let it die/ There is only one thing that matters this time/ At the hands of judgment I won’t let it die, no sacrifice, regrets left behind, I won’t let it die.” Then it gets quiet, just drums and quiet random picking by Ryan. Palm muted guitar continues it, and it just builds and explodes and leads into Dan screaming again. When I think about it, the song contradicts itself during its course because the chorus says “We don’t care anymore,” but he is determined to continue the love. It’s a little strange and the song is a bit repetitive, but a good and catchy song to kick off the album.
2. Take Me Back (4:07) – I guess it’s distorted guitar that begins this song, and then a really loud guitar 2 kicks in and the drums and bass follow, making this song really loud. There are good backing vocals in this; they sing loud, perfectly in tune and really makes the song that much stronger. A drum roll (love those) starts the verse and another in the middle, which makes some really good transitions. For some reason, Dan’s voice is a bit hoarse, maybe from lots of practice and screaming. Either way, it’s a little noticeable, not too much, but it seems fine. As I mentioned, the backing vocals are very strong, especially in the chorus, and makes this song much better.
Ah, finally, the time we’ve all been waiting for.
At about the 2:17 mark, “history” happens. The first ever (I don’t know for sure if this is actually the first one, but it sure seems like it. I think it is.) GUITAR SOLO starts, and really comforts me to think that these guys know what they’re doing. They should want to get a good audience and guitar solos impress many. Although this isn’t the most impressive, it’s far from being bad. There’s some hammer-ons and pull-offs and is very catchy; you will sing it over and over.
3. Our Time is Now (4:07) – There’s another new thing here: a pick scrape. It starts the song and a simple but catchy guitar riff follows. A great part for the drums and very simple guitar riff is in the verse (short drum roll with palm muted guitar, silence for about a half second, then guitar plays three high notes). The chorus is in an offbeat, which I don’t exactly dream about. I have been playing music since I was six years old and I have been taught to play on the beat. I have grown to be able to take the offbeat, but I still don’t love it too much. However, it is fairly catchy. Backing vocals are, once again, noticeable and are strong. Now, at the 3:38 mark, guitar one (I think it’s Ryan) slides all the way up the fretboard, and I mean all the way. He plays a really kick ass solo and even though it’s short, it’s really impressive. Another new thing here: the song ends on the solo, which is rare anywhere and is very interesting. I was gonna rate this 3/5 but the solo gave it another half point.
4. Taste the Poison (3:44) – This song starts off softly, with Dan singing “It's the same old story/ I've seen it all too many times/ It's the fall from glory/ that makes you feel.” This track has some emotional lyrics and I’d list them all here if they weren't so long. It’s clearly about a relationship, and like the last album, about breaking it. He talks about poison, his subject of the song drinking it, and losing control. Strong power chords, again, with, also again, strong drums set the foundation for the lyrics. This isn’t exactly the catchiest song, but it’s emotional with a good chorus. It gets loud at the bridge, and another guitar solo begins. It’s also short like the last one, but very, very fast. Tapping, hammer-on-ing, pulling-off through the whole thing, it’s just crazy. It also gets really high on the fretboard; it’s just freaking awesome. The chorus is repeated a lot also, which will get old again. However, the solo really is something.
5. Stereo (3:29) – This song is called "Stereo", and when I heard the part about radio waves, (second verse) I realized that it’s about radios and the “sh*t they’ve done.” “We've been taught to love this robotic formula/ Built to please ignorant minds, uncultured masses/ do we know, that our ears have failed us now"” is sung in the first verse. I thought the radio was revolutionary, but when I think about it, it’s actually pretty accurate. We don’t think for ourselves anymore, just commercials and ads on the radio and television. We’ve become ignorant, (not all, but quite a good number) and uncultured. The chorus is very catchy with its power chords and drumming (I could say that all day) and I really like that the words tells the truth. This also features a screaming and a seemingly pissed off bridge. Damn I wonder how long it too Dan to recover, that’s how much he screamed. There are a few paradiddles here, which is just fantastic! The chorus is a bit catchy, but the screaming turns me off a bit. This one also gets repetitive, singing the chorus many times. It sounds like he’s singing about slavery (“We’ve all been bought and sold”) but I digress.
6. Five Against the World (3:12) – By now, I really want to hear a spectacular song, since the last three have only been above average. When I first skimmed this CD, it was Track 1 (We Don’t Care Anymore) and this that caught my attention at first. I’m not sure if it was the catchiness that attracted me, or something else. I absolutely love the chorus; it is catchy and anthem-y, which really draws my ears’ attention. The lyrics aren’t the best, kinda cheesy. (“These are the days we’ll remember, these are they days we won’t forget.” Yeah, ya think") Anyway, there’s a simple (or so you think, at the start) guitar solo afterwards. It gets more complicated and faster as you get further in it, and actually, interestingly, part of it is also played under the next verse right after. I really like the solo also, for it is extremely catchy and you will always remember hearing it. Backing vocals are still their strong selves, as are everything else, including another good drum roll. There are a few more drum rolls and paradiddles in this song and I am a sucker for those. The only thing preventing this from being a 5 is the lyrics.
7. Sleep (4:12) – This song reminds me of "The Ghost of You" by My Chemical Romance. It's soft, has strong singing and the guitars stay soft through most of it. In both songs, the power chords get loud a few minutes into the song, but then they are soft again. Like in Ghost of You, I was always finding myself absorbed into the drums, but they're nothing more than a simple beat. At first, I didn't realize how good this song was, and it took a while for this to grow on me, but I'm glad it did. It is very soft, and it just builds and builds and explodes. The lyrics get repetitive, but it is sung louder and louder and ends with Dan screaming.
8. Meathead (2:25) – I hate this song. This is the shortest song on the album, clocking in at only 2:25. The entire song is offbeat, which drives me crazy. There's some nice tom work by Josh actually, which is a plus. Lots of screaming in this one only turns me off a little more. It's actually a very energetic and fast-paced song and is another positive. All positives end. A few power chords repeated over and over again bring this song once again below my liking. I know the other songs are power chords, but those are much catchier. A repeated chorus brings it lower. I think it really is the only sh*t on the album. The more I listen to it, the more it pisses me off. I’m only giving it a 1 for its energy.
9. March of the Dead (3:49) – The first two seconds reminds me of a slow version of “A Praise Chorus” by Jimmy Eat World, only because it starts off with high hats on the drums. After that, all resemblances end. A guitar riff follows immediately and is repeated in the verse. There are more good backing vocals everywhere in this song. The chorus is pretty much catchy as freaking hell. I really like this song because it, once again, has a lot of energy, but unlike the previous song, it is used well. There is another high pitched guitar solo here, and the fact it is so high on the fretboard makes it very attractive. I guess you can say it disappoints a little because it isn’t really all that impressive. However, that doesn’t take away from the song. After that sh*t they call a song, this really makes up for it. The only reason this is not a 5 is because the verses can use a little work so they will sound...better.
10. Pay Your Enemy (3:09) – The start of this sounds like a fast version of the previous one. The rest of the song isn’t. Dan’s voice sounds really hoarse here; it is deeper and less strong. He hates whoever he’s talking about, with “You've become the enemy/ Let it go/ But you'll never take the blame/ So let it go.” He says “F*ck you” so he seems even more pissed off. There is a lot more screaming on this track than the previous bunch, which might be the reason why his voice isn’t at its best. A short bridge features complete silence except for the bass drum and Dan’s singing, but it’s short; I’d like it to be longer because those are very addicting. I think they do repeat the chorus several times, but there are two, if that is the chorus.
11. Wake Up the Voiceless (4:17) – The beginning guitar riff sounds like “Dive Right In” off their first album “Page Avenue.” The chorus is very catchy and is a bit like a chant. I really like the lyrics to the bridge, as they are catchy and have a kind of rhythm to them.
They're the reason for defiance
We can't ignore
We're the promise of a new day
This is a war
The blood will spill
The voices will be heard
And tonight, we are alive
There is a complete clear-out for the drums and singing, and it lasts for a while, which I really like. There isn't much more to say about this song other than it is very catchy.
12. “Is This My Fate"” He Asked Them (5:15) – This is the “final” song on the album, and it just builds from nothing to a raging, metal-y guitar riff. Another offbeat song here, but it doesn’t seem to bother me as much here for some reason. There’s lots of screaming in the verses, but the chorus very
catchy. It’s an anthem-like song in the way they sing it. The lyrics in the verse get explicit, catching me off guard, and then they made me laugh.
"Is this my fate!"" he asked them
They answered, condemning him to burn
Rejected, forsaken, for being f*cking born
I can't believe that this is still a question
That needs an answer
A bigot's eyes judging lives
Based on the sex of who you f*ck
Yeah...the last line is what I’m talking about. Actually, the words before that line are pretty good. Anyway, the chorus’ lyrics are repeated in the chorus (the same lines repeated) which is a bit of a turn off. Palm muted and screaming control the bridge, which is...average I guess. Not a big fan of screaming like crazy, but it fits with the song. He really screams after this...REALLY. SCREAMING
“When will you learn” three times. Just listen to the song to understand what I mean by “really.” There’s 15 seconds of complete silence at the very end, seemingly pointless, which pisses me off, as does the screaming.
13. A Silent Murder [Hidden Track] (2:36) – I guess you now know what I meant by putting the quotes around “final” in the previous song. This is the hidden song on this album, and I think it is a secret gem. Although it is only 2:36, it truly is something. It is a very soft, mellow and mysterious song with quiet guitars throughout. The guitars can get pretty fancy here actually, with random slides and pretty fast fingering. However, the lyrics make me goosebump-y because they hold meaning, and a lot of it. There is an obvious sense of loss here, and since they are so important to the song, I will put the whole song’s lyrics. Don’t worry, they aren’t very long.
It’s a silent murder
It’s a grave that sings your song
It’s a quiet failure
It’s the one that makes you strong
We are heading down a long, empty road
We pass lost souls blinded by the cold
Watch the fire burn out
Watch the curtains slowly close
Waiting on the final words your heart already knows
We are heading down a long empty road
We pass lost souls blinded by the cold
By the cold
It’s a silent murder
It’s a grave that sings your song
Just read those lyrics. Let it sink in.
Dan shows his soft side here, barely getting above a soft singing voice. Beautiful lyrics, guitar riffs that fit perfectly to the song a fantastic song. I just wish this song was longer.
-Metal-ish guitar riffs change their sound, makes the music catchier
-The album talks about different things, in respect to the lyrics
-They have added guitar solos, which is fantastic
-Backing vocals are strong throughout
-Drums provide steady beat constantly, and there are lots of drum rolls and paradiddles
-Much more creative than “oh, let’s repeat the chorus over and over to end the song”
-I wanna hear more bass guitar
-There are no five-star classics here. I want to hear one.
-Some songs get repetitive
-“Meathead” pisses me off. A lot.
Take Me Back
Five Against the World
March of the Dead
Wake up the Voiceless
A Silent Murder [Hidden Track]
Overall Album Rating: 3.5/5
And finally, I am finished with the review. My longest so far, I think it is good enough to send the message: BUY THE CD. This is a new CD by SOTY and an improvement from their last one. The material is a little different and better in my opinion. They added guitar solos, and even though there are some repeated choruses over and over again that might get boring, it does not take away as
much as the last album, where you didn't have a guitar solo to look forward to or to remember. This album is solid with lots of catchy songs. Keep in mind that “Page Avenue” was their first album, and this is their second. This means that they are still rather new to this system of music making in this society. These guys will get even better in the future, keep an eye out for them.
I edited the review again. I've been listening to this album and have realized it's not as amazing as i thought. As you can see, I lowered the rating by a half point, but i do not
anticipate lowering it more. Don't get me wrong, this album is very solid with songs I feel I will be listning to weeks from now. I found a new song I love, but the songs do get repetitive.