Story Of The Year


Written by: PP on 07/03/2018 22:24:29

Back in 2003, Story Of The Year released one of the very staples of emo/post-hardcore with "Page Avenue", an emotionally-charged, if a somewhat cheesy record that redefined what it meant to sound polished and anthemic in a scene that otherwise relied on quiet/loud dynamics and screamed elements at the time. Then in 2005, they released what will always be yours truly's favorite SOTY record with "In The Wake Of Determination", where they largely ditched their original sound in favour of a hardcore/punk inspired one. Since then, it's been all downhill for the band with two mediocre releases that were forgettable at best, "The Black Swan" in 2008 and "The Constants" two years later, after which the band went on a hiatus.

"Wolves" is the first SOTY album in seven years, but if there's one word that best describes it, it is: bland. Much like its two predecessors, the band chases some putrid dream of revitalizing their 2003 sound, just without any of the youthful spirit and charming naivety of their early days. As a result, you have an album which is polished to oblivion, leaving behind a soulless sound that isn't rescued by a few background screams that make cheesefests like "I Swear I'm Okay" at least tolerable. The band aims for the masses with a shotgun, firing out as wide of a mainstream pattern as possible with safe, pop-charged melodies that feel as dime-a-dozen as they do boring.

Forget about any edge nor memorable moments, the vast majority of "Wolves" is nothing but standard fare, career-extension material save for a couple of exceptions. It kind of resembles the nothing saying material that Senses Fail was producing until they pulled a rabbit out of the hat with the brilliant "Pull The Thorns From Your Heart" three years ago.

But for one exception, let's take a look at the opening track "How Can We Go On". Here, the band utilizes a punk-fueled tempo that gives the track a high-energy feel and complements it with coarse screams and generally good songwriting that suggests this could've been a much better album overall. Instead, we have cringe-worthy pop songs like "Can Anybody Hear Me" and "Miracle" among others, which compete for the title of blandest possible sound on a fairly even footing.

You see this is the thing about "Wolves" overall: it's not exactly bad. The songs have a crisp production and the anthemic melodies are decent enough on first listen. Nope. The real problem is that they are so hopelessly bland that for anyone who has been listening to developments in emo/post-hardcore over the years, even in the arena-sized category, it will come off as simply a boring record.

Download: How Can We Go On, I Swear I'm Okay,
For the fans of: Senses Fail, Funeral For A Friend, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Used
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.12.2017

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