Tracing Back Roots review by We Came As Romans

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  • Released: Jul 23, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 5.6 (48 votes)
We Came As Romans: Tracing Back Roots
2

Sound — 7
The band started in 2005 and only retains a single founding member, David Stephens (clean vocals, screamed vocals), though his role in the band has changed as he was initially the rhythm guitarist. The band's first full length studio release was in 2009, and the current members have all been with the band since then if not earlier, but the band was originally formed in 2005 by high school friends. He is joined by Kyle Pavone (clean vocals, keyboard, synthesizers), Josh Moore (lead guitar), Lou Cotton (rhythm guitar), Andy Glass (bass guitar), and Eric Choi (drums). This album is the first album displaying David Stephens using some clean vocals.

"Tracing Back Roots" is the third studio release by We Came As Romans and has 11 tracks with a total runtime of approximately 40 minutes. The first single from the album was "Hope," which was released as a single in January, but was also a bonus track from the deluxe edition of their last album. The album opens with the title track, which provides a strong opening as this is one of the most aggressive tracks on the album. The next track "Fade Away" uses some of the most extensive use of clean vocals on the whole album. The third track, "I Survive," guests Aaron Gillespie from The Almost. The track "Never Let Me Go" has a more rock sound over metalcore, and actually reminds me a little bit of Linkin Park. The track "Hope" is definitely written to be a single, with a gang vocal chorus and a lot more emphasis on melody. The album closes out with the track "Through the Darkest Dark and the Brightest Bright" which repeats the line "this is our song to remember" so often that when it is over that is about the only thing notable that I remember. The musicianship on the album is solid, but I don't think I can't stand much more of the stutter effect that has become popular with hard rock, metalcore and pop music lately.

Lyrics — 6
David and Kyle do a solid job on the vocals, and for the first time David provides some clean vocals as well as his normal screamed vocals. These clean vocals are in addition to Kyle's clean vocals. David's screams are as strong as they've been on their previous releases and the addition of his clean vocals help to show he has a respectable range. Kyle's clean vocals are well executed, as usual. I have a hard time with the lyrical themes because of the strong self-pity content throughout the whole album, which is my main gripe with We Came As Romans. As an example, here are some lyrics from the title track, "Tracing Back Roots": "Eight years ago I committed a sin/ And there were many more that followed with/ Some that changed my mind/ Some that broke me down/ But all of them made me who I am now/ All of them made me who I am now/ All of them made me who I am now/ I lived in the bliss of ignorance/ And slowly sank into self-doubt/ I had to answer my own questions/ As I attempted to crawl out/ After these years on the road/ Was this really my home? / Why do I feel so alone? / In my chest there's a hole/ Why do I feel so alone? / Why do I feel so alone? / In my chest there's a hole/ I've tried to keep it full/ But there's a break in the hull/ Depression floods like frozen water's cold/ Is this life drowning me? / I am a ship lost out at sea." Hopefully the band's songwriting will mature over time and they'll get over this self-pity kick that is ruining their music.

Overall Impression — 7
We Came As Romans have released a solid album for their genre, but they aren't really pushing any boundaries or being very adventurous. While there is a little more in the way of clean vocals on "Tracing Back Roots" and a little bit more melody, at the end of the day it is a mediocre release. While the band is trying to be dynamic and grow as a group, I get the impression listening to the album that they aren't really sure of how to go about it. My advice to them would be to take a little bit more time and work on their lyrics and their overall lyrical themes and avoid using gimmicks like the stutter effect. My favorite song on the album would be "Hope," I guess, but I'm not feeling very enthusiastic about it. While this album isn't horrible, it didn't really capture my interest either.

56 comments sorted by best / new / date

    bradd101
    "David Stephens (clean vocals, screamed vocals)".....So vocals then?
    420Bitch
    I dont understand why metalcore bands use clean vocals the way they do, im all up for clean vocals but they're so high and feminine that is seems to be a norm now and it just kills it for me, I dont understand it. Its a horrible transition to go from heavy dark vocals to britney spears. Like dudes, come on. You're supposed to be metal right?
    Sam Rulez D00d
    Being high-pitched isn't the problem, it's the whiny-ness to it that makes it... well, suck. There's some really talented male singers who can sing high-pitched that don't sound like they're in a boy band.
    crazysam23_Atax
    The Metalcore bands that are actually influenced by Hardcore don't do that. And actual Metalcore (aka Metallic Hardcore) is NOT supposed to be Metal. This kind of "Metalcore" is apparently supposed to be generic. @vppark2: I'll give you that, but (other than KsE's early records) none of those bands have any Hardcore influence and therefore aren't actually Metalcore.
    Skyvalve2012
    And I thought I was the genre freakazoid.
    Sam Rulez D00d
    Actually, Metalcore and Metallic Hardcore are completely different. And today's "Metalcore" isn't either of those. Haha
    crazysam23_Atax
    "Actually, Metalcore and Metallic Hardcore are completely different" -- Actually, they're not. What exactly do you think Metalcore is short for? Metallic Hardcore!
    guitar_shredda*
    couldnt agree with you more that this isnt metalcore, even post-hardcore is used incorrectly, the band East Of The Wall is real post-hardcore, not this garbage
    vppark2
    Idk man. Both bands seem to be more thrashy in a way if thats what youre trying to get at.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Thrashy? I'll give you that, but I'm sure where you're going with that. There's Hardcore and Metalcore with Thrash influences. But having Thrash-influenced riffs doesn't make you Hardcore or Metalcore. And several subgenres of Metal quite clearly tend to use Thrash-style riffs. So, uh, what are you trying to say?...
    Tutis
    Fan of metalcore, but this saddened me. This record is too bad for this band. For other one, it would be good.
    Sam Rulez D00d
    I only heard one full song from this, the one with Aaron Gillespie. It was a good pop-ish song, I thought. Not really interested in the rest, though. My friends showed me clips of songs and from those I could tell that their melodic parts are alright but their "heavy" parts are generic and boring. At least they put out a positive message, something you don't see in a lot of these kind of bands nowadays and I can respect that.
    EyesWideOpen
    The video was hilarious. A douchey hipster with ear discs walking about, angrily gesturing at the camera whilst his generic, tuneless metalcore vocals forcefully bore me into a stupor.
    nicholsonisgod
    The video is funny, but I couldn't laugh because of the cringe-worthy lyrics and the godawful music. Seriously, what is it with those metalcore bands? It seems like all they can come up with is binary "riffing" in Drop D, or Drop #C, or Drop C, then a bunch of generic straight up 4/4 beats and poor lyrics about being sick of everyone and everything and other kinds of personality crisis.
    AfroThunderSkat
    so instead, let's all sing badly about obscene things like cannibal corpse, or obscene things like metallica, or obscene things like slayer, gwar, sepultra, etc... if you want generic, look to the metal that has been around for decades and has continued to spout out nothing but the same sounds over and over again. WCAR is not talking about being sick of everything or everyone. the video is about how they got where they are. sorry you dont like a song about putting in hard work and getting what you worked for.
    JJ_Drummer
    Hey maybe if you don't like it don't listen instead of running your mouth dissing things. huh? Good day
    KRamERisBEST
    My mom has always taught me your opinion is a given right. Express it and don't give a **** about what other people gotta say because they were given the same exact right as you.
    AfroThunderSkat
    with that being the case, there's no reason to give your opinion, as no one else would care. lets all give our opinions and not give a crap about what other people say. let's not take constructive criticism. lets just be opinionated people who dont actually care about others at all.
    Jugulator_cro
    "if you don liek wwy you even watch? -_-" - you You can't form an opinion about something unless you listen/watch it first
    iammclovin
    Proves how little you know about this band, Dave is a really nice and down to earth guy who genuinely cares about his fans. Today's popular artists could learn a few lessons from these guys.
    lafawafa
    It was an okay album and I enjoyed it, but it is definitely worse than their previous albums.
    HeartaGramFan
    I have been a WCAR since "To Plant A Seed". I personally was not impressed with the album, on my first listen. After listening to it three or four times it grew on me. I was expecting a darker heavier WCAR and they had release that. I'd give it a 7/10. If there were more screams and less bar chords I'd enjoy it more. A Melodic hardcore release I would say.
    iammclovin
    I like that they explored some new territory for them as a band as opposed to sticking with a similar formula from TPS and UWWGTB. I acknowledge that not everyone is going to enjoy it and they're entitled to their opinion but I really liked this album. At least Kyle is singing within his range now.
    ljmesure
    This is album is such a disappointment, technically, this band is leagues ahead of bands in their scene. In the past they have produced sounds that have not only been wonderful examples of the genre but have taken their music to different places with fantasictic rhythm variation and souring chorus development. Of all the clean vocal-scream, breakdown-synth, pinch harmonic-dropD "metalcore" bands, through other albums, this band became my favourite. Listen to "Intensions" or "Broken Statues" if you want to see what I mean. This album though having some nice elements, lacks some serious punch, like I said a serious shame.
    Erik Bihl
    This is atleast a 7. If you are not into metalcore or post-hardcore you shouldn't listen to this. Love the record! 8/10 for me
    crazysam23_Atax
    I'm into both Metalcore and Post-Hardcore; I think this record is a 4. What now?
    vppark2
    I was aiming towards 4, but I gave Sleeping With Sirens latest album that score, and this is nearly not as bad as that album. Average for some, I guess, so a 5 is reasonable for me.
    Erik Bihl
    Well i did not mean that just because you like Metalcore and Post-hardcore you will like this. There will probably be people who never listened to Metalcore who will like this album. This album has a lot of pop moments but it is still WCAR. I like this album and i think it's a good progression. Sorry for any missunderstandings
    guitar_shredda*
    this is a pile of garbage, i dont know why rubbish like this keeps being called metalcore. Converge is metalcore, KSE is metalcore, Unearth is metalcore
    'Merican
    I've always ****ing loved WCAR. Can't wait to see them at Warped next week. Granted, definitely their weakest album, but never the less, I like it.
    nor.omar.9
    For the people who don't even like metalcore...why are you reading this? Or even listening to the album?
    ciadude2
    Honestly I do like a few metalcore bands but WCAR was just always so... boring.
    vppark2
    "This is the third album by the metalcore band, We Came As Romans, but with more clean vocals and more melody than their previous releases." Well, while listening to their title track, not at all really...
    Skyvalve2012
    Been waiting for this album for a while. Now the question is if I should listen. As a "-core" band I can respect, this may be a tough challenge...to hear or not to hear, that is the question.
    vppark2
    I dont like it. Lyrics are still cliched as hell, and well....this is as generic as WCAR can get. I like the positive message that they bring though.
    KRamERisBEST
    Hell no. This is not generic WCAR at all. Take it on back to plant a seed and compare. This album ****ing sucks compared to the first, and that's how most bands usually go. It only took me a minute and a half to download it, it wont take me half that time to delete it from my library.
    vppark2
    > says WCAR is not generic at all > says this album ****ing sucks compared to their first Welp, Im lost...