Sound — 5
Why is it that when bands say that they are going to expand their sound and promise many things, they just end up releasing the most generic crap that will be forgotten in a week?
While We Came As Romans has never been the most unique band, I would argue that their dual singer setup ended up being very well implemented and was never a hashed together idea like many other band vocalist duos today. Their last album "Tracing Back Roots" showed both vocalists using fairly good clean singing skills; while there were harsh vocals on the album, the record went for a much cleaner and accessible sound. The album wasn't bad, it just wasn't very ambitious or memorable in a year that was filled with metalcore records by much more popular bands.
I read in a Guitar World article that We Came As Romans started working with producer David Bendeth (Breaking Benjamin: "We Are Not Alone," "Phobia," "Dear Agony") and they had 15 songs prepared but David said that all of the songs were mediocre and had the band start over again. I'm wondering now what those "mediocre" songs sounded like because while anything on this record isn't awful or offensive, it just isn't memorable or noteworthy.
Speaking of production, I know I can't blame David for this entirely, but the guitar tone is fuzzy and stale. I found out that the band really likes to use Orange amplifiers, and this may be a matter of preference, but I have never liked the sound of those amps at all. It doesn't really help when the guitarists show no variation in sound throughout the entire record. Drop A# or B tuning riffs with no solos or interesting interludes. It really feels like the vocals are made to carry this album because nothing in the background stands out.
Lyrics — 5
WCAR have always really gone for the uplifting kind of lyrics for their albums. There is nothing wrong with that because in a world where everything has to be so damn miserable and gritty, it's nice to see a creative medium used for happiness rather than depression.
That being said though, some of these lyrics on WCAR's self-titled album almost feel kind of gimmicky. The opening track "Regenerate" has this section:
"Regenerate, regenerate this life
Regenerate, regenerate this life
We've returned to reclaim"
The song "Memories" has this cheesey section:
"Another line begins, I wonder what comes after
Knew we'd be the same, or be in different chapters
We only got one chance before it's all over
Under the moonlight I want you to hold on
We're gonna remember, remember this moment
Remember this moment, remember this moment"
While these lyrics aren't bad, they're nothing to tattoo on your body if you're planning to do anything like that.
Overall Impression — 5
It's really weird to listen to this album after briefly checking out their first album "To Plant a Seed," and while that album isn't perfect at all, it at least had identity at the time. "Tracing Back Roots" was a decent album with a few good songs, but these days I barely even listen to it or remember it exists. "We Came As Romans," the self titled-album will be even more forgettable, at least to me. This album is not offensively bad, but it just feels... bland. I can even see glimmers of potential in this album, but they come and go so damn quickly, it's almost sad.
Potential songs include "Regenerate," which had some decent chorus structure, even if the lyrics just weren't clicking for me. "Memories" seems to have some influence from "Pieces" by RED, especially with the piano intro. Still a nice song in some aspects. The last one with potential was "Savior of the Week." It has some cool rock aspects to it and a fun chorus that might be fun to sing along to at a concert, but that's all I can say about it that is positive. The production on this song and entire album seems overdone on many parts, can be kind of annoying at times.
Would I buy it again if I lost it? Nope. Streamed this album so I saved myself $9.99 on iTunes. If I did buy it, it would be one of those albums on my iPod I would forget about until I hit the Shuffle Songs button.