Sound — 10
Story Of The Year has always been one of my favourite bands for their own combination of melody and brutality. They basically walk the very blurred line between metalcore and pop-punk, combining heavy, drop-tuned guitars and killer solos with Dan Marsala's unbelievably melodic voice. Still, to say SOTY is the same band on their new album, The Black Swan, would be falsification: They have made minor changes to their style, and it only improves the quality of their music. They have proven once again that though they lack the kind of mainstream attention that most bands similar to them get today, their music is of the highest calibre, and I believe them to be at the forefront of rock music today. The Black Swan was named for a book about the occurrance of unpredictable events. Like the book, the album is fairly unpredictable when transitioning from song to song; if you've liked SOTY before, however, not much has changed, and I definitely appreciate them sticking to their guns. Sonically speaking, this album is in a league of its own. I can't believe how infectious some of the songs are, and even harder to believe is that this bands get comparatively little attention from most rock listeners and radio stations.
Lyrics — 10
Dan Marsala manages to weave some really inspirational and haunting lyrics. In "The Antidote," Marsala discusses a search for an antidote (surprisingly) to a newfound disease, and how the cure is simply within us all. In "Wake up," the topic is how we usually take our lives for granted, and that when we do, our lives become useless, just as we take them to be. The lyrics would fit musically to most music, and to SOTY's music as well, of course. Though Marsala's lyrics are worthy of applause, his voice is his truly standout quality. Dan flawlessly switches from beautifully on-key, melodic vocals, to heat-laced raspy vocals, and even to unbelievable screams on some occasions.
Overall Impression — 10
To put this album into perspective, this album is now in league with probably any album I have ever heard. It reaches out to a very wide audience, and is deserving of a lot more attention than it is getting. I hate to sound like I worship SOTY, but this is the best album I have heard in a very long time. Call me crazy if you want, but it is up there with Nevermind, Led Zeppelin IV, The End of Heartache, Ashes Of The Wake, Rust In Peace, and any other great album you want to put up there. Some day, I wouldn't be surprised if this music was curing cancer. As much as I try, I cannot hate anything about this album, and I can be very finnicky about tiny details. This album truly is awesome in every year, and I don't think there is a single song I don't like. The epic half-time drumbeats, incredible guitar riffs and solos, unexpectedly killer basslines and soaring vocals make this album truly one of the greatest in history. As for what I might do if this album were stolen. Well, we don't need to get into that, it's too violent to describe. Songs like Wake Up, The Antidote, Choose Your Fate and Message To The World are melodic rock masterpieces, making this album more than just another SOTY album. This however, is my humble opinion, and I encourage you to hear this for yourself and lose days of your life to this album.