Failure Anthem
First World Problems


3.5
great

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 26th, 2016 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thought radio rock was dead? Well, you're right. But at least there's hope for the future.

Out of nowhere – that’s the best way I can describe Failure Anthem’s sudden ascendance within the genre of hard rock. I know that many of us like to pretend that talented, wholly accessible rock bands are a dime in a dozen, but the truth is that very few of them that can pull off that combination of traits successfully. Alter Bridge is a band that immediately comes to mind when listening to these guys; perhaps even with a trace of old school Seether, but there’s not very many other bands that you can readily equate them to. The mystery, then, of how they seemingly rose to prominence overnight begins to unravel. Hard rock, radio rock, or whatever you want to call it died sometime in the mid-2000s, so when a band like Failure Anthem comes along with a debut as strong and immediate as First World Problems, it’s almost as if they become relevant by default. Failure Anthem, however, is more than just an opportunistic band recognizing a void and filling it. First World Problems showcases an ideal blend of what it takes to be popular and what it takes to be good – and while the former may take some time to come to fruition, the latter is already proving to be true.

First World Problems is a soaring, radio-ready rock album. The choruses are simple but memorable, thriving on frontman JD Eubanks’ powerful yet deceivingly versatile vocals. The melodies present on tracks such as ‘Paralyzed’ or ‘Leap of Faith’ are proof that the band has what it takes to stick around with the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Alter Bridge, and other hard rock staples. The guitar contributions, while technically proficient, rarely exceed expectations – they’re essentially just a steady source of riffs to ensure that the pace of the record remains upbeat at all times. If you’re looking for their best guitar work, you probably don’t need to listen past the opening title track, which features one of their better solos towards the song’s latter half. The most disappointing aspect of the record most likely comes in the form of the group’s percussive offering, which is rarely ambitious enough to deviate from the song’s established pace – a safe, mid-tempo drumming pattern that allows the focus to remain on the vocals. When you take everything into account, it would be fair to describe Failure Anthem as an amalgamation of the Seethers, Shinedowns, Breaking Benjamins, et al of the world with the fortunate asset of having a vocalist in the realm of guys like Myles Kennedy and Chris Robertson.

The real strength of First World Problems is the songwriting. In a genre that is inherently homogenous, the ability to deliver an entire album of engaging, creative songs can be the difference between a band that earns critical praise and one that draws petitions in an attempt to stop them from creating music. First World Problems is as fresh sounding of a hard rock record as I’ve heard since the genre’s aforementioned heyday. The opening trifecta (‘First World Problems’, ‘The Ghost Inside’, ‘Paralyzed’) all serve as pretty standard (albeit good) rock songs, while the middle section and back half proves to be far more expansive. The track listing and overall ebb and flow of an album isn’t often considered to be very important, especially on overtly accessible rock records, but on First World Problems it is a noticeable strength. ‘Here For Good’ possesses one of the album’s more stunning bridges, while ‘Carousel’ features beautiful female vocal contributions that results in a downright haunting duet. As the album comes to a close, ‘One Step at a Time’ offers up the band’s most infectious and pop-leaning rhythm, all before ‘I Won’t Say Goodbye’ draws the curtain for good with an uplifting anthem that seems to be dedicated to keeping a relationship alive – all too appropriate for fans who might not want the experience to end.

Failure Anthem’s debut is nothing out of the ordinary. It is just catchy, upbeat rock music executed by a group of musicians with a little bit of talent and vision. They have plenty of flaws, and they aren’t the next coming of the Foo Fighters, but they are definitely creating new waves of energy in a genre pool that has been stagnant for years – a feat worth lauding in itself. If you don’t mind the intrinsic faults of popular rock music, then First World Problems is likely a debut that will capture your interest from start to finish. Even if you’re a cynic like me, there’s enough quality material that you just might get caught off-guard and find yourself enjoying this album more than you ever expected (or wanted) to. Regardless of whether they spark a small amount of interest or ignite a blaze, the fact that they’re just getting started means that the future is looking up for this group of young rockers.




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user ratings (20)
Chart.
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
January 26th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the day I don't bring in my headphones to school



shit...

Digging: Time, The Valuator - How Fleeting, How Fragile

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 26th 2016


28403 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

where's tiesthatbind

Digging: John Nolan - Abendigo

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2016


24393 Comments


This middle-aged women at my work reps these guys hard. I trust your opinion more than hers, so I guess I'll be checking this out :]

Digging: Deceased - Ghostly White

Toondude10
January 26th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Sowing he only appears in Alter Bridge threads



this sounds like it should be right up my alley, especially with those BB and Alter Bridge recs

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 26th 2016


28403 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So glad that my taste overlaps with middle aged women >:/ I mean I guess I get it, this is pretty standard alt/radio rock.



Yeah Toon you'll like this I think. Probably not as much as the groups you mentioned, but still.

Toondude10
January 26th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

now if only I can get my headphones

LotusFlower
January 26th 2016


12001 Comments


Im digging these competent mainstream rock bands popping up lately

Ebola
January 26th 2016


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Probably will check this eventually, sounds intriguing. Maybe these guys can fill that little Shinedown-shaped hole in my heart. Great review, too

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 26th 2016


28403 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah I mean all those mainstream rock bands that I loved in the early to mid 2000s are in decline, it's nice to finally find a group of a similar style that is talented and just getting started. Feels like such a rare occurrence in this genre.

LotusFlower
January 26th 2016


12001 Comments


You ever checked out Highly Suspect? They're another group that do mainstream rock right in every aspect, also carry some heavy Royal Bliss vibes if you're into that.

ExhaleTheLight
January 26th 2016


831 Comments


Octane plays the crap out of this band and I kinda get sick of it.

EvoHavok
January 27th 2016


7656 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent read, Sowing! This sounds right up my alley.

Digging: Sigh - Heir to Despair

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2016


11589 Comments


Nice write-up Sowing, pretty generous with those italics though (: This sounds like it could be fun.

Digging: Dekagram - May Flights Of Devils Guide

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 27th 2016


28403 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You ever checked out Highly Suspect? They're another group that do mainstream rock right in every aspect, also carry some heavy Royal Bliss vibes if you're into that.




Yup, I actually knew about them before they even released that album and Lydia was a pre-release single. They're great too, but sort of a different band than this. Highly Suspect is more straight up, no frills rock and are much heavier...these guys are more in the radio rock vein (but don't let that deter you, they're still really good).



Also, I'm sure you mean Royal Blood =)



And thanks for the kind words, EvoHavok and ScuroFantasma

Pangea
January 27th 2016


2713 Comments


might check

LotusFlower
January 27th 2016


12001 Comments


Nah i meant Royal Bliss, but I guess Royal Blood works too.

Toondude10
January 27th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty typical stuff, but it's decent for what it is

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 27th 2016


28403 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^exactly. Like I said in the review, it's not groundbreaking just very solid. I just enjoyed it a little more than you I suppose.

EvoHavok
January 27th 2016


7656 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ugh, some people really wanted to mess the average up.

Ebola
January 27th 2016


3348 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Jamming this right now, I kinda dig it tbh



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