Sound — 9
The gold casing of Bayside's latest release, The Walking Wounded: Gold Edition, would lead audiences to believe that this is a greatest hits collection, and in some ways it is, taking the band's previous album, The Walking Wounded which was released in 2007, and attaching a smacking bonus DVD to the CD. The DVD's footage shows what this band means to it's members, vocalist/guitarist Anthony Raneri, guitarist Jack O'Shea, bassist Nick Ghanbarian, and their present drummer Chris Guglielmo who accepted the daunting task of replacing John Beatz Holohan after Beatz was killed in a van accident on Halloween in 2005. Bayside was in the middle of their tour then, opening for Hawthorne Heights and Aiden, and rather than dropping out completely from the tour, Bayside pressed on playing an acoustic set in memory of Beatz, who must be looking down from his cloud encrusted perch with enormous pride for what Bayside have accomplished and keeping their emo/post-hardcore values in tact. The Walking Wounded testifies to how making music has gotten Bayside through the dark days that followed in the wake of Beatz's death. At this phase, Bayside have established a strong signature sound so every track almost sounds the same, though it's not because the band does not diversify their mixes, but because their music is so them. Like the howling guitar spins that whip through Carry On and Raneri's vocals which graze up and down the music scales through every track. The band keeps their songs moving, stirring emotionally, and feeling like the music and lyrics come from a genuine place of inspiration. The slow rising floods in the rock flourishes along Landing Feet First are excellently rung, and the hard fisted cracking in the rhythmic beats of Thankfully are filled with hot-blooded emotion. The slight reggae curl in the rhythmic grooves of A Rite of Passage are consumed in emo-punk fires, while the final three tracks, I And I, Dear Your Holiness, and Landing Feet First are performed acoustically. It is almost like the band was returning to those days after Beatz's death when they played their shows with bare-boned acoustics. The contrasting tones of whipping post-hardcore tides and acoustic rays are interchangeable in Bayside's hands showing a complementing relationship between the two.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics speak to today's youth with words that reflect punishing pain, and the ways in which people cope with it. It's as if the trials and tribulations that most people have accumulated in sixty years of living is somehow condensed into the life of an 18 year old. The lyrics in Duality deliver this message, I take deep breaths to keep control to go on / I've tried 'brave' and I've tried 'saved' / I've tried to keep it bottled up / I think I've passed my prime and lost my mind and I'm torn / There's no telling what tomorrow holds. The lyrics reveal the heavy burden placed on the shoulders of today's youth, and yet, the lyrics hold out for brighter days to come like in Thankfully when Raneri professes, When we were young we never cared, and now we are scared of jumping in like we've forgotten how to swim / But I think that we should try and we should tread / Cause if we never take another dip again / We'll never know the joy that failure brings.
Overall Impression — 9
Bayside is like the mythical Phoenix, rising above its own ashes, only Bayside is no myth. The Walking Wounded is a must-have for Bayside fans, and it's a great retrospective for the post-hardcore scene, at least that faction which Bayside was involved in and helped further. The bonus DVD also aids in supplying fans with a retrospective of the band's history, their life on the road, their music videos, and several live acoustic performances. Putting the 2-disc set in a gold casing gives fans a sense that this is a very valuable item, but it is more than just valuable for the fans of Bayside. It speaks to a whole world of post-hardcore audiences who are enamored of the movement's camaraderie among musicians, stirring music, and lyrics that describe what these fans have endured, overwhelmed in hardships and yet holding on that failures have the potential to bring good. It has reflections of another singer-songwriter, John Lennon, who simply said, Imagine, and people did.