Sound — 7
For anyone following A Day To Remember for their 10 year career, they know that the past 3 have been extremely tumultuous for the band, but they fought long and hard to release their most recent studio effort: "Common Courtesy." I've received some flak for being too biased in my reviews so I'm going to try to make impartial as possible. ADTR is known for their "unique" blend of pop punk and metalcore (as unique as the 2 genres can get), that being said, there are breakdowns, there are poppy choruses. The overall sound is very erratic from start to finish, this is not a bad thing but something that is more noticeable than previous releases. Instead of individual songs being bipolar, the whole album switches from heavy song, to light song. This is not necessarily a bad thing, depends who is listening I guess. The singer, Jeremy McKinnon, brings his blend of punk/metal vocals to the table once again. This time though you can tell he has done some growing up, the vocals feel restrained and fitting on songs like, "I'm Already Gone," instead of just belting it out on every song, the vocals feel subdued when it feels right. On past releases the screams and or growls were of a low pitch and the sound remains the same save for an extra touch added to them, I think of it as adding "grit," or "distortion" to his harsh vocals. Compared to their last album I feel that the production on this album is better in almost every way. The guitars feel very full, you can hear the bass most times, the drums don't sound overly processed but the clean vocals do. I am more of a fan of raw vocals but, it is nothing that ruins the experience.
Lyrics — 7
I believe one of the main reasons people flock to this band are the way that they connect to the words being said. I know that's why I did. It is extremely cliche for a band in this genre to say that they write about real things, but this feels genuine. Not every song is, "F--K YOU!" or "F--k you, you broke my heart!" There is a wide range of emotions present in the album. On "I'm Already Gone," you get a sense of longing to be home and feeling alone from the group. On other songs like, "Violence" and "Sometimes You're the Hammer, Sometimes You're the Nail," you feel the anguish that the lives they lead has brought upon them. These guys have put their lives into this and are demanding that they be respected. The lyrics feel very reflective and introspective, I feel as if I am reading the diary of the vocalist sometimes. Jeremy McKinnon has matured in his vocal delivery and songwriting and it shows. Not every song has the word "F--k" in it for emphasis, the first song "City of Ocala," is a nice ode to their tiny hometown, documenting what it was like when they were just starting out. There is a lot of that on the record, reminiscing on the beginnings of the band; in "Right Back at It Again," we hear how the band came together and how hard they worked to reach this point in their lives.
Overall Impression — 8
As one of the biggest names in their scene, a lot of people have been waiting for this album to drop. The first thing that comes to my mind when it comes to reviewing it is: safe. It is a very, by-the-books A Day To Remember record. The softer songs are softer the heavy songs are heavier and there are heart-felt lyrics. It is a very solid release by the band and I have enjoyed it so far, but it is a very safe release. You can decide if it is a good or bad thing, I think I am somewhere in the middle in that aspect. It also feels like a return to form, I liked their old heavy stuff, so the heavy portions met my expectations. This album has some magic for sure in it though, despite some of the things I mentioned. Some of my favorites were: "City of Ocala," "Violence," "Sometimes You're the Hammer, Sometimes You're the Nail," "The Document Speaks for Itself," "I Remember." If you are a fan of the band check it out!