Sound — 2
Woe, Is Me's sophomore release of "Genesi[s]" is without a doubt a big change in sound compared to their debut record Number[s] (as you can tell the band is still trying to keep the whole [S] thing alive). "Number[s]" was, that for a "core" record, was put together very well in my opinion. I still enjoy the record to this day, two years after it's release. Within those two years, many things happened. If you didn't already know, the band since the release of their debut album underwent drama which resulted in a number of lineup changes. The first lineup consisted of Tim Sherrill and Kevin Hanson on lead and rhythm guitars respectively, Austin Thornton on drums, Cory Ferris on bass, Tyler Carter on clean vocals, Michael Bohn on screamed vocals, and Ben Ferris on keys and synth sharing screaming duties with Bohn. Tim Sherrill (in my opinion who's departure was a VERY large and overlooked factor in Woe, Is Me's current sound) was the first to depart. Geoffrey Higgins replaced him temporarily, but lead guitar (and at this point I use the words "lead guitar" very loosely) was eventually permanently taken up by former rhythm guitarist of Abandon All Ships, Andrew Piaino. Tyler was next to leave, who's drama many may already know. He was replaced by Hance Alligood. A few months later, Michael Bohn and both Ferris brothers departed. The band since replaced them with Doriano Magliano on screamed vocals (formerly of That's Outragous!) and Brian Medley on bass. They never replaced Ben Ferris with a new synth player as most of their synths and sounds at their live show are played on backing tracks (and pretty much the rest of their set...) Well now since I've given you a history lesson, let's get into "Genesi[s]"'s sound. Like I said, it's a BIG change compared to their last record, and quite frankly, it isn't really a change for the better. "Number[s]" was a very creative album to say the least. I think I liked it so much because it was generic, hard and aggressive when it needed to be, as well as creative, melodic, and ambient when it needed to be giving us a great mesh of metalcore and post-hardcore. My biggest complaint for the record is in the guitars. The whole record I kid you and exaggerate not is played on the lowest 2 strings 95% of the time. If I was filling in on guitars I'd probably not even need to downtune the rest of my strings in rehearsal because I'd only need to use 2 of them, 3 if Andrew is playing "leads". Another downside to the record, is that none of the songs stick in your head as much as the songs from their previous record did. Woe, Is Me also have a tendency at this point to write songs with aggressive verses and then randomly transition into catchy choruses in completely different key signatures. It's like listening to metal songs on the radio and out of nowhere someone comes in the room and turns the dial to a pop station. Very cluttered and unorganized if you ask me. WIM's new sound is unorganized and lacks the creativity and musicianship that their previous album contained. Musically, "Genesi[s]" can be described as ADTR meets a very watered down version of Periphery meets the rest of generic metalcore that's trying to transition into lower tuned, 7 string guitars and "djenty" guitar tones but ultimately fail miserably at it because of their lack of actual musical ability unlike their progressive metal and "djent" counterparts. Sorry for the long, detailed description. If you didn't catch all of that, the record is pretty much just unoriginal and noisy.
Lyrics — 1
There isn't very much to say about these lyrics. They simply just aren't very good or creative this time around. Woe, Is Me was never really a band to look to for their lyrical content, but at least they had lyrics that told stories, used metaphors, and had positive messages. Lyrically, this record can be summed up as Dr. Suess in the form of an angry prepubescent middle school boy. The Dr Suess part means that everything rhymes and flows as an unpoetic, inartistic, angsty poem (not to say Dr Suess is any of that). All of Doriano's lyrics are very up front and in your face, which brings me to the angry prepubescent boy part. Being angry and in your face can be a good thing for a band, but if they rhyme like high school cheers and are angry like an upset 6th grader, then you need to take a creative writing class as soon as you can. They are simply immature and lack any sort of value. In a nutshell, this is a Woe, Is Me song off "Genesi[s]"... "F--k you, f--k you! We're the best You swore we weren't, but we beat the rest We passed the test, take these words to your chest If you didn't know, we're never gonna go and I just randomly realized your girlfriend's a f--king... HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOE!!!" Like I said, not much to say. Sh-tty lyrics. There is one redeeming feature about Woe, Is Me's latest release. Their clean vocals. Hance did a pretty good job on this record. The thing that's kind of shit about him is that he's a good singer, but there isn't enough of him on the record so it's like the one redeeming factor of the band isn't getting his time to shine as much as we would like him to. Another thing about Hance that is shitty is that he's practically always going to be in Tyler's shadow for as long as he is in that band. With the release of this album, I STRONGLY believe that Hance Alligood should find a new band. A band where he can sing songs that originally were written for his vocals to shine through. I think he'd have a lot better luck there.
Overall Impression — 2
In conclusion, I believe your liking to this record is completely based on what your initial expectations to it is. If you never were really a Woe, Is Me fan before and are listening casually, then you might not really care about this record. If you are into 1000001000000100001 tabbing and chugs in your music as well as ADTR choruses and again are listening casually, give this record a chance. You might find something you like. If you were a fan of "Number[s]" and are into music and lyrics written with creativity expecting something as good or at least at par with their first album, you should skip this record all together. There aren't really stand out songs on this record. As stated in Sound analysis, every song sounds the same. It's pretty much one big breakdown with 16 bars of ADTR songs that come on every minute and a half. It's kind of the opposite of what I thought breakdowns were for. I thought that breakdowns were meant to enhance songs, but it looks like WIM wanted to take the route of ADTR sounding choruses in random key signatures to enhance a 25 minute breakdown. I think that's everything that needs to be said about this record. My advice is to just download the audio for free because this isn't a record worth 15 bucks especially when they had so long to work on it. Also don't go in with high expectations if you want to enjoy this record. If you want a loud angry record to mosh, and jam to I have to say this might be good for you. If you want a record with substance and songs that you'll be singing along to for a long time, I'd stick with "Number[s]" and the "Fame > Demise" single for a few more years.