Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Attack Attack! Return With This Means War

Attack Attack! has been through quite a lot in their short career. The band released their debut EP in 2008 entitled If Guns Are Outlawed, Can We Use Swords and were quickly signed to Rise Records. Their major label debut, Someday Came Suddenly, was released in 2008 to mainly negative reviews. Their second album, which was self-titled, was released in 2010 to better reviews. Along this short ride, the band lost more singers than Spinal Tap did drummers; not to mention other personnel changes also earlier on.

The band is now poised to release their new album entitled This Means War. I am not sure if that title is a message to the many critics who have constantly slammed these guys, but they are more focused than ever on this release. In a genre known for its breakdowns, let us “breakdown” this album and see what it’s all about.
The album, which was produced by lead singer and keyboardist Caleb Shomo in his home studio, opens with “The Revolution” and what a great opener to set the tone of the album. Caleb Shomo is quite impressive with his mix of clean and unclean vocals. Lead guitarist Andrew Whiting delivers some crushing rips that chug right along throughout the song. This song is an excellent choice to begin this latest chapter in the band’s story.

“The Wretched” is another great example of the growth of this band. Caleb’s keyboards and synthesizers add so much to this song and many others. They add an interesting layer to what would could easily be just another metal core song and elevate it to another level. The conventional “breakdown” now sounds fresh and original because of that.

“The Motivation” is a song that will catch you off guard more than once. It opens with a rather slow and tranquil keyboard before Andrew’s guitars erupt in a wall of sound. The rhythm section of John Holgado on bass and Andrew Wetzel are on their A game on this selection. A song about staying focused and never giving up should become a theme for these guys as a band and overcoming their critics.

Over all, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this new album. It definitely shows growth by the band in many areas. Caleb seems to have found his comfort zone vocally. His non clean vocals show a lot of improvement and his clean vocals, used mainly on the choruses, make them catchy and infectious. Andrew also gives a solid performance on guitar turning in some pretty amazing solos while managing to keep his breakdowns from just becoming a chug-a-thon.

The guys have announced dates on the “This Means War Tour” with The Ghost Inside, Sleeping with Sirens and others. It should be interesting to see how the new material translates into the live show. Pick up a copy of This Means War when it’s officially released on January 17, 2012 and listen for yourself. It definitely lives up its title.

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