REVIEW: We Came As Romans – To Plant A Seed

wecameasromansArtist: We Came As Romans
Album: To Plant A Seed
Genre: Metal/Hardcore
Label: Equal Vision

After making a splash on the national unsigned front last Winter with the release of their free Dreams EP, Michigan’s We Came as Romans was quickly the hot ticket in the music scene. After deciding to go with Equal Vision, the group set off to create what would become To Plant A Seed, their debut full length record. That album just hit stores this week and the group hopes their take on the world of electronica meets metal hardcore will prove to be successful.

I doubt I’m the only one whose grown a bit tired of ever new “metal” band claiming to have a “keys” player that rarely uses the piano for its intended purpose. Instead, we’re given run ofthe mill chugfests that have been veiled as something hip by simply adding synthesizer or 808s or something of the same vein. It’s gotten a bit purposterous, but I was willing to give WCAR a shot because I’d heard their used this niche device much less than many of the acts out their not.

From the very beginning of the title track, one thing is clear, vocalist David Stephen can scream. Her ferocity instantly grabs your attention as the record comes in. In addition, these guys seem to know quite about music structure, accent work, key changes, etc. as they use these elements quite a bit. This of course turns out to be a good move for the group as it takes what would be cookie-cutter chug fests and gives them a unique twist which can make even the open drop D breakdown seem impressive. However, these attributes don’t have enough strength to carry the overall group. While the vocal ferocity and it’s equally heavy metal accompaniment, we have the use of auto-tune and way, WAY too much unnecessary synth/electronica accompaniment running rampant on the album.

Now, I know it’s not really professional to write off an entire element of an album without justification, but all I can say is that I’m simply not distracted from the truth any longer. These bands are using catchy synth lines and orchestral elements to distract from the obviously run of the mill guitar work that they’re trying to sell as original. As I said though, there is an element of music craftsmenship here that does separate WCAR from the majority of this scene and it should be noted.

Thanks to the previously mentioned skill at song structure, To Plant a Seed does have its fair share of gems. For starters, the battle cry or “Broken Statues” will surely be uniting late teen pit kids for months to come while the near jazz like intro of “Beliefs” that fades into chugs and dance club ready synth loops is near impossible to turn away from, even after three repeats. In addition, those of you seeking the raw rock power of WCAR, check out “Searching, Seeking, Reaching, Always,” as it should have enough sailing vocals, swirling guitars, and crashing cymbals to keep your heading moving for days.

It’s unfortunate that it took the national scene so long to recognize We Came as Romans. A band like this could have dominated the scene if they launched this record a year ago. At that time, this whole heavy meets club music scene was still in infancy, but now it’s grown to the point that their talent will most likely go either unseen or marked as “already been done.” However, those who seek out To Plant a Seed will probably walk away feeling at least a since of pleasure towards the record. It’s in no means ground breaking and I don’t think they’ll be taking over the scene, but it’s a solid effort that may just have come at the wrong time.

Score: 6.5/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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