The Constant review by Story of the Year

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  • Released: Feb 16, 2010
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.4 (36 votes)
Story of the Year: The Constant

Sound — 7
For its fourth studio album The Constant, Story of the Year has dabbled in more unique styles, sounds and most distinctly guitar effects along the way, and those fresh musical choices do represent the most engaging moments on the 11-track CD. The St. Louis natives don't take their creative urges far enough, however. There is no shortage of big, catchy choruses, of course, and for many listeners out there that is all that is needed. But if you're looking for Story of the Year to venture into new territory, you'll likely find The Constant is lacking in groundbreaking material. The first track The Children Sing is reminiscent of the latest 30 Seconds To Mars record, primarily because a choir as this particular title suggests, one composed of children is added to enhance various sections. While the children aren't overused to the extent where it gets annoying, it does become apparent throughout the CD that the band is fond of choir and/or chanted choruses. The Children Sing, like most of the tracks, also revolves around the consistently satisfying guitar work of Ryan Phillips and Philip Sneed. The duo's licks might not be technically awe-inspiring, but the groove-driven style is often the highlight of many tracks. Effects and whammy bars are essential elements to many moments on The Constant, with the tracks Won Threw Ate, Eye For An Eye, and To The Burial being standouts. While Story of the Year is often associated with the post-hardcore genre, in many ways To The Burial draws from more of an 80's metal vibe. From the effects to the larger-than-life guitar solo, it hearkens back to the days when guitar gods ruled the airwaves (or at least MTV). When Phillips and Sneed do experiment with wacky intros or whammy-heavy solos, it's still surprisingly satisfying. The most aggressive instances arrive in the songs Won Threw Ate and Eye For An Eye, which deliver a gruffer vocal style, meaty chords, and powerhouse percussion. Those songs provide a much-needed contrast to the mellower offerings like the introspective Remember A Time and the piano ballad Holding On To You. While Story of the Year has a good grasp on creating a pleasing chorus, at times that also means things get a bit too predictable and stale.

Lyrics — 7
The 11 tracks on The Constant tend to revolve around fairly standard themes, but the band does try to include intriguing descriptions. I'm Alive features lines such as, In this graveyard I'm calling home; Carved into the stone; A diary of broken bones. The song To The Burial also paints a vivid picture with the lyrics, That stone bleeds admiration; Black hands and eulogy; In the face of devastation. You might draw the conclusion that Story of the Year gets tied up in darker themes, but most of the tracks do tackle familiar concepts like love and the state of the political world.

Overall Impression — 7
The Constant is all in all an enjoyable album between Dan Marsala's impressive harmonies and Phillips/Sneed's impressive riff work. There is nothing too out of the ordinary musically, except for perhaps a tiny bit of effects experimentation within the tracks Eye For An Eye and Won Threw Ate. For the majority of the album the band does take the safe road musically, and while it's not a very interesting career step, it won't alienate any of the established fan base.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I've listened to it a couple of times, so far i really like it. Not quite as good as the black swan (which is my fave album of theirs) but still a great record from an awesome band
    Wow, comparing "The children Sing" to any 30 Second to mars song shows how unqualified the reviewers are. I'm sorry, but comparing 30 seconds to mars to SOTY is just not right. Come on, I mean that is like comparing Four Year Strong to Greenday. They just don't have anything in common. 30 Seconds to Mars had similar roots in their first album, but softened their sound after that. Granted, Story of the Year changes their sound every album, they are still a talented band, and so is 30 seconds to mars in their own respect. I just don't think this reviewer is capable of reviewing an album of this genre. Sorry if people find this review pointless, I just think that this review is a poor representation of Story of the Year. BTW, this CD is pretty good, but not as Emo as their first album, which I like. It Definitely leans away from their emo/screamo roots. It is a good album nonetheless.
    I hope It's better than the Black Swan... and In the Wake of Determination... Their first album was just the best for me I guess.
    Ive listened to I'm Alive, and its an okay song. In the Wake of Determination is still my fav album from these guys
    I wish the rhythm was as exciting as The Black Swan (one of the reasons I got back into SOTY), but hey it's still a good enough album.
    Haha, I love how these comments have people citing each one of their different albums as their favorite. Shows how much they have changed from album to album, yet still managing to please the fan base. Although from what I have heard, the review is probably right that they aren't changing too much this time around. There is something different though, something slightly fresh. Enough to keep people happy but not enough to show a serious musical growth.
    Cold Reader
    Great album but I've gotta wait to get paid before i can get it :/ In the Wake of Determination was my fave album, Black Swan had a couple of great songs on it but too many that I wasn't keen on.
    In The Wake Of Determination was their best and will always be their best album. This album sucks so much. It is such a disappointment. I like maybe 4 tracks from it, if that. Next effort please?
    Amazing album i love it and iv only listened to it twice! good job SOTY!
    ill admit that its not my favorite. kinda mellow. but a correction to the review.. most of the harmonies are sung by phil sneed. clearly no research was done. piss-poor review
    How can you criticise the reviewer and then say they leaned away from their 'emo/screamo roots'??. SOTY never had any slight relation to the emo/screamo genres..
    These guys played at my school tonight and they put on a good show. They seem to be proficient musicians and they never missed a beat. The harmonies sounded dead on. I can't say I'm a huge fan. The last time I listened to them was when an old radio station played "Anthem of Our Dying Day" and "Until the day I Die". I thought they were a little too mellow-dramatic to say the least. But after tonight's experience and the variety of fan favorite albums, I might have to check them out a little more.
    i got this album and the only songs that stand out are "The Children Sing," and "To the Burial" I love SotY but this cd is just terrible. I'm happy that I didn't buy it. It would've just been a complete waste of money for me. I liked the Black Swan alot. I think musically its their best but lyrically i believe that In the Wake was it for me.