Life in Your Way
The Sun Rises and the Sun Sets... and Still Our Time Is Endless
The album kicks off with the introductory track "For The Flames Beneath Your Bridge, My Heart's Collapsed". What that means exactly, I have no idea. However, they waste no time at all getting to the root of their musical talent. The drummer starts out with a nifty drum-roll that I could listen to all day, if not for the fact I would miss out on the rest of the album. The lead guitar starts with a short riff a few seconds in, whilst the rhythm guitar plays the immediately recognisable signature hardcore *chug* sound. This, my friends, is Life in Your Way to a T; fantastic riffs, drums and an unmistakable melodic hardcore influence.
It is hard to start describing this album, for in it there is no simple verse/chorus structure on the songs, and as such there are so many aspects to cover. For the 34 minutes it encompasses, you will never hear the same riff repeated in another part of the song. Some might think that 34 minutes is rather short, however the amount of material and effort in writing one of these songs is so immense that they could easily fill a few albums if they were to use the verse/chorus structure. With this in mind, let's start by looking at the vocals.
The different voices of the members are perfectly complementary to each other. The main vocalist, Josh, has a great scream which is easy to listen to, a nice contrast from other bands that employ brutal screaming which is sometimes painful to listen to, such as Atreyu or From Autumn to Ashes. On the other end of the spectrum, the backing vocals are light, tuneful singing, verging on the edge of almost talking at some points, but are fantastic to listen to. A great example is the beginning of the second track, "Not A Word", where the vocals are sung over some clean chords with some hi-hat tapping, which eventually kick into distorted octaves with the drum-rolls not far behind.
Now for the guitars - the guitar work on this album is amazing, the staple of Life in Your Way. As previously said, the riffs are never repeated in other parts of the song, and as such displays the creativity of the guitarists. Even the guitar tone is great, it's not too heavy but still maintains the crunchy-ness that makes the fast riffs outstanding. The lead guitarist is constantly involved playing short riffs, and these are the foundation of Life in Your Way, melodic hardcore with a kick. The rhythm guitar switches between high octaves and low, palm muted drop-D power chords, for the classic hardcore sound.
The drumming is also fantastic, it's never dull or metronome-ish, with the drummer throwing in short drum-rolls all the time to keep him on his toes. There is an obvious omission of over using blast beat/double bass drumming, which is replaced with sheer ingenuity. The drums are perfectly used to build up or slow down parts of the songs, and at the fast parts they are very upbeat and fun, great to listen to, and are never mind-numbingly repetitive.
The bass on the album's main purpose seems to be to go along with the rhythm guitar, however, it's used brilliantly to create a warm, full sound to the tracks. Listening to LIYW, then switching to another album you can see the difference in "thickness" (for lack of a better word) of the sound. It can sometimes be hard to hear the bass, but if you listen closely it's definitely there.
Since this is a hardcore band, the album would not be complete without chants. There are a few on the album, and in fact the very first lyrics you hear, "Let's Run!" are yelled by the band. There are a few others on the album, and each of them is a fist-in-the-air, feel good moment. Life in Your Way also does something I have not heard on very few albums to great effect - the use of sound clips. The only one from any album I have listened to recently is the start of Circle Takes the Square's "Our Need to Bleed".
My favourite track, "Fall", begins with a catchy riff and some palm muted chords over the top of it. This track has some fantastic riffs in it, as well as a great slow part with clean guitar that goes on for just the right amount of time without getting tedious. This is followed by some great clean vocals and a the band yelling "Take this confusion away!". The ending of the song is one of the most elevating I have ever heard, with the dual vocals mixing perfectly, to be cut to a sound clip from the movie "I Am Sam". This track has it all, and I'm always left feeling inspired.
In a world filled with depressing music, Life in Your Way is completely uplifting. The lyrics and the attitude of the album is just a huge contrast to the absolute nonsense excreted by bands such as Hawthorne Heights, Good Charlotte etc. Some of the songs will dwell on the negative at a few parts, but each and every one tends to end with an elevating thought:
"I've been put down and let down
But I've been touched cared for and held onto
Cried many times "make this right"
Words were whispered "then change your fight"
All these things tie me down
"Hope deferred make the heart sick"
So keep me strong and sleeping on through the night"
It should be noted that Life in Your Way are a Christian rock band, and this is apparent through some of the lyrics. This is possibly what lends to the uplifting feeling, throughout the album:
"You are beautiful amazing
Our friendship is ever growing
A never ending journey
I hold you in the highest a place that no other will touch"
The Christian influence may be a put-off to some people, however if you're stubborn enough to leave such a great band at the wayside because of this then you are definitely missing out.
So, near the end of the review it's time to talk about the negatives of this album. I find it very hard to fault this album at all. The riffs keep on coming and are never repeated, the drumming is fantastic and the lyrics are truly uplifting. The only thing I can complain about is that the bass could be a little higher in the mix, to be more easily audible.
So in short, get this album, it's truly worth it.
Standout tracks: Not A Word, Long Letters, Fall.