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Story of the Year - In The Wake of Determination Review
by Brodie

Ok, so you find out that SOTY is coming out with a new album. After hearing their debut album, you expect something strong, emotional, and chock full of good tunes, suitable for putting down the windows and cranking up the car stereo. So you pop the cd into your cd player, turn it up, and prepare yourself. As you begin to listen to the album you've anticipated for so long, a thought comes to your mind……….

This is really unoriginal.

So you fast forward to the next song, in hopes that the first song just hadn't quite 'hit' you yet. It starts off, and you hear a glimpse of promise. The music's not bad, but you're hit with your second realization.

These lyrics are really trite. 

I can hear it now.

"Now wait a minute Brodie, these guys put out a REALLY good debut album. How could this possible NOT be good?"

Don't string me up and sick the dogs on me just yet. Hear me out. 

The album isn't too bad musically. Even though the nu-metal train has been thoroughly jumped on (and beaten to death in the process), the music here is not all THAT bad. Yeah, it's nothing new under the sun, but there are some strong grooves that shine through here and there. Is some of it suitable for rockin' to? Sure. Is some of it so formulaic that you can see the chord changes and progressions coming from a mile away? Absolutely. And that is where one of the downfall's lie. SOTY did nothing new here. AT ALL. If you want some simple riffs by which to bang your head against your steering wheel and act stupid with your friends with (c'mon, we've all done it), then you're in luck. But if you're looking for something original, and at the very least, a little outside the norm of what you can hear from 100 other bands in the nu-metal scene today, well, keep looking. 

"But hey Brodie, these guys aren't nu-metal! They're emo/screamo/punk/metal/hybrid/chugga rock." 

No, actually, they're nu-metal. Listen to the album, you'll see. Sure, they've infused some of those other elements from their first album here, but they lay on the nu-metal riffage with abundance.

This brings us to the next problem. The lyrics. Oh good lord above, the lyrics. 

If I didn't know any better, I'd think the vocalist went to the Fred Durst School of Rock and Roll Angst. While the lyrics on the first album held promise, were MUCH more solid, and could even be called poetic in spots, these lyrics could have been written by a 13 year old. The track that stands out the most in this regard is definitely "Five Against the World". C'mon guys, kill the cliché "no one understands us so we've got to stick together" crap. It's tired. The song opens up with some of the worst lyric writing ever recorded:

 "I never thought I'd see the day/that we honestly could say/we stand five against the world/and the doors are open/through all those years/I would have died to be right here/I never thought of backing down/with one chance to make a sound". 

Yeah, because I'm sure life in the comfy tour bus playing in front of hundreds of people a night is a real drag. Easily one of the worst songs I've ever heard in my life.

As the album comes to a close, one easily could be convinced that on track 12 (the second to the last track), that the listener actually popped out this disc, put in some early Metallica, and started rocking out to that instead. With double-bass, a speed metal riff, and a breakdown that could only be original if it appeared on Ride The Lightning, SOTY breaks into their version of a 'tough guy' song, this time complete with more trite, yet politically leaning lyrics, such as the first line of the song: "Do you really f*(#ing think/that it's a choice/a way of life/plagued by discrimination/you're narrow minded/quick to judge…." Yeah, yeah, we know, 'if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem'. Whatever.

The album trudges on through a slew of teeny-bopper anthems full of angst and strife. It comes across exceedingly not-believable. 

When it comes right down to it, I really wanted to like this album. Seriously. But I am starting to think I'm the only person alive who doesn't like this band. They had potential, after coming out of the gate so strong with their first album. Fans of SOTY will probably think the band should run for public office after hearing this album. For the rest of us, this is an album that, if you were to spend your money on it, would end up in your pile of cds to take to the used cd store next time you made a run. I know I wish I could.


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