December 7, 2015 We Came As Romans – We Came as Romans (Album Review)
Originally calling themselves This Emergency, Troy, Michigan’s We Came As Romans has been a an empire building for a decade now. Following members either leaving for college or quit due to unknown circumstances, then Lead Guitarist Mark Myatt officially changed the name, which was followed by the self-release of 2008 EP’s Demonstrations and Dreams. Met by decent reviews, finally, on November 3, 2009, their full-length debut To Plant A Seed was released via Equal Vision. As the band continued to tour and pick up speed, more albums were released such as Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be in 2011 and Tracing Back Roots in 2013, each attaining high-charted positions than the last. Climbing the ladder of popularity among Rock/Metal fans, We Came As Romans appears to have taken form with a steady lineup as well as progression in their sound. With a current lineup that rests with Lead Guitarist Joshua Moore, scream and clean Vocalist Dave Stephens, Drummer Eric Choi, Rhythm Guitarist Lou Cotton, Bassist Andy Glass, and clean Vocalist Kyle Pavone, the band returned with the highly anticipated new album, We Came As Romans. Teaming up with multi-platinum-selling producer David Bendeth, the new record saw its release in July of 2015 and was met with plenty of excitement among their ever-growing fanbase.
The new ten track offering kicks off with the energetic song titled “Regenerate.” Accompanied with a killer music video, this track gets the fans pumped up and ready to go. With topics such as self-centeredness and renewal, this track leads the listener to the desire for change. Why condemn when you can confide? Well, they are all just too busy picking a side. The album continues with “Who Will Pray?,” which features a much more Pop-influenced intro and continues with a spice of Rock rather than a focus. Focusing more on Pavone’s vocals with clean backups by Stephens, the song is much more easy-going compared to the previous one. It consists of many different synths combined with distorted guitars that play simple, yet effective, chord progressions. Although somewhat different than their usual songs, the simplicity adds a new and special dynamic that starts the album off interestingly.
Moving along, “The World I Used To Know” begins with a calm melody followed by echoing clean vocals by Pavone. As the track moves into the chorus, both Stephens and Pavone sing together repeating, “What happened to the world I used to know?” Yet another soothing song with a more Alternative Pop Rock vibes, rather than their usual Metalcore sound, there are many vocal harmonies to enjoy, along with steady chords played by distorted guitars. With “Memories,” the mellower theme continues with repetitive chord on guitars along with a heavy focus on the vocals. Featuring a bridge that changes the rhythm, new vocals are added, keeping the track interesting. Lyrically, the song discusses the ability to make memories with another without limit. Conveying a message; as life goes on, things change and people leave, finding different paths, but as long as one has the time, they can make memories with those around them.
Kicking into high gear, when least expected, “Tear it Down” comes pounding through, bringing back the old We Came As Romans style dedicated fans have come to love. Distorted guitars, panicking drum beats, screaming vocals; everything is there proving the band still switch back and forth between styles with ease. With background synths providing a new dynamic to appreciate within the song; it will run through the veins of listeners, pumping fire and inspiration. Next, “Blur” comes into the spotlight with a power of epic proportions. Beginning with a pretty neat melody, along with screaming vocals, the powerful feeling behind can easily get someone’s adrenaline pumping.
Continuing on with noticeable songs such as “Savior of the Week,” it is Pop Rock style that most New Age music fans can enjoy. Then, “Flatline” begins with piano and drums, resembling a Jazz-like melody, morphs into something a little bit heavier. The distorted guitars with minor keys used in the vocals allow for a track with a darker feel to rise to the ears of each and every listener. “Defiance” comes on as a heavy and hard-hitting cut with screaming vocals and pounding guitar riffs before “12:30” concludes the album with a mix of the old and new style. The latter is particularly interesting with its slower rhythm as well as use of bass and vocals having control over the verse with barely any help from guitars.
All in all, We Came As Romans is a decent album. Geared toward broadening their horizons, the album displays many changes to the style of the band. While fans of their previous work may be a little unsure of the new direction, it is still worth a listen to perhaps expand their own horizons. CrypticRock gives this album a 3.5 out of 5 stars.