Story of the Year - In The Wake
of Determination Review
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
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
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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