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Album Review: We Came As Romans - Understanding What We've Grown To Be

Troy, Michigan six piece, We Came As Romans are back with their eagerly anticipated follow up to the brilliant, ‘To Plant A Seed’. Weighing in at just under 50 minutes worth of music and spanning twelve tracks of synth ladled metalcore, ‘Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be’ follows on nicely from the band’s debut without really displaying much in terms of progression.

After an initial listen, it seems as though clean vocalist Kyle Pavone takes a back seat across the album, but after subsequent spins its clear this is not the case. There are just as many clean vocals on this album as the previous effort, but what there are less of, are choruses. It’s only on ‘The Way That We Have Been’ that a really effective chorus is heard. That said, the lack of a traditional chorus, makes the album a much more structurally interesting prospect. Opener ‘Mis//Understanding’ is a prime example, no standardized chorus, but there are sections where the energy that would accompany a chorus is more effectively funneled.

In terms of the lyrics, chief lyric write Joshua Moore covers similar themes as on the first album, although there is a noticeable air of despair to some tracks. When heavy vocalist David Stephens screams about the devil on his shoulder at the start of the brutal ‘A War Inside’, you get a level of the pain and frustration of the lyricist’s inner turmoil. There is also a fair amount of continuation in terms of themes from the first album. Whether it’s the references to ‘empty cups’ in the brilliant closing track ‘Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be’; or the direct continuation from ‘Roads That Don’t End…’ on the first album, that is ‘Views That Never Cease, To Keep Me From Myself’. Some may say that the continued lyrical themes hinder the freshness of the album, but it’s a good insight in to where the band has moved to emotionally between the two albums.

‘Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be’ is a more complex album than the previous effort in terms of structure and emotion, but it’s lack of hooks means it is also quite a complex album to get in to. As good as some of the tracks are, some are crying out for a decent chorus, which makes the decision to leave stop-gap single ‘To Move On Is To Grow’ off the album, even more curious. Still, this album is a fair effort and will still undoubtedly garner the band a new and growing set of fans.


Dan Issitt

'Understanding What We've Grown To Be' is out September 13th on Equal Vision Records.

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