Sound — 8
We Came As Romans' full-length debut record To Plant A Seed in many ways follows in the footsteps of past tourmates The Devil Wears Prada, but the Michigan natives opt to take things up a notch more in an epic direction. Incorporating several synth sections that are meant to mimic orchestral sections, the 10 tracks heard on To Plant A Seed are larger than life and several times reach that coveted wall of sound. For such a young band, We Came As Romans demonstrate that, although they still might not click with all listeners because of spastic switching between death vocals and clean vocals, this is one group of players that still shows plenty of promise for it's chosen Christian hardcore genre.
Not surprisingly, To Plant A Seed was produced alongside Joey Sturgi, who has made a name for himself via his work with The Devil Wears Prada. The production value is sleek through and through, and the most exceptional aspect of the album is the seamlessly interwoven layers. There's plenty of going on, and more than a few times (particularly in the track Dreams) you'll be bombarded by harmonized guitar lines, growls, synth, and intriguing drum beats. For the most it works and the guitar team of Lou Cotton and Eric Choi stand out track after track.
Highlights include the slightly gothic sounding I Will Not Reap Destruction, which for the most part follows relatively same musical format as the other 9 offerings on the record, but includes some haunting piano lines that create a moodier vibe. That particular track also features clean vocals within a big chorus, which also happens to be one of the most memorable melodies on the CD. Both Broken Statues and Intentions are satisfying for the arrangements rich in distortion-rich guitar, the breakdowns that seemingly come out of nowhere, and the presence of the band's epic side. Big, orchestral synth lines and effects-laden vocals a la Yes actually enhance the arrangement and make Broken Statues the best offering on the album.
Lyrics — 9
While there are some Christian hardcore and/or metalcore bands that don't always make their religious beliefs known within their lyrical content, We Came As Romans don't necessarily shy away from their personal stance. Given all the ambiguity in lyrical content in the music world, it's actually refreshing to have a band a little more overt in its message. The word God isn't inserted into every track, but you most certainly will hear messages about keeping the faith, living in love, and feeling compassion.
Overall Impression — 8
To Plant A Seed in many ways is overflowing with interesting musical sections, and it will just be a matter if you're the kind of listener who likes a wall of sound to be thrown at them in pretty much every track. We Came As Romans keeps a fairly decent balance between the growling and the clean vocalization, and at times you almost wish that they dedicated at least a few songs to one or the other. Granted, this would be steering them away from their chosen genre, but there are just some incredibly moving moments (whether aggressive/metal or clean/progressive) that do deserve to be explored further. Even so, To Plant A Seed is one debut that shows a great amount of promise.