Attack Attack!‘s self-titled album has brought listeners several changes – lower tunings going as far as drop-b in select songs, overuse of auto tune with lack of style, an extremely varied track list, and different guitar riffing techniques. Apparently, they have discovered and fallen in love with the use of octaves in breakdowns, and also the use of low string bends, as apparent in many tracks, often being used hand-in-hand. Perhaps they have been traded for the panic chords of Someday Came Suddenly. While the resulting sounds are fitting, they are somewhat tiresome and are short of creative. Much electronic help is evident in the album, which is to be expected from Attack Attack!. The band also continues the use of puns in song titles, catchy choruses, and “crabby” breakdowns that will have fans pinching their claws. Keys parts have improved immensely – new electronic sounds have come into play, such as strings samples. On the other hand, the auto tune is getting to be ridiculous, and the band even tries to get as close as possible to the sound of a whiny-ass Lil’ Wayne voice, and T-pain’s, as well. However, one thing is for certain- Attack Attack! had a lot of fun with the album, and after receiving much criticism, has shown they do not care what anyone thinks in the least. With this album’s release, a lot was in question, and I, personally, was unsure of what to expect. Attack Attack! went through a tough time losing former front man, Austin Carlile, over several issues. The keyboardist, Caleb Shomo, stepped up mid-tour to allow the band to keep performing and satisfy fans; however, this was clearly going to have a great impact on their sound, and effectively, their writing. Shomo certainly doesn’t have experience with vocals, and in the times I can remember seeing him perform, he was often out of breath.
Several songs on this album are breakdown oriented as in their past release. “AC-130” shows a band who wants to be heavier, but sacrifices complexity. It’s a decent song, and the lyrics and title lead me to believe that it is meant to call out Austin Carlile more than make reference to Modern Warfare. While this is the case, “you’re better off dead,” is a little brash, if you ask me. I personally remember the song sounding heavier in real life than on the recording, although I can’t put my finger on why.
The track, “Renob Nevada”, (insert cheesy laugh) sounds as if it came off a For the Fallen Dreams album – downbeat drumming, gang vocals, bro-core lyrics, and screaming that even sounds like their old front man. In order to change this, the clean chorus keeps things interesting in accompaniment with a fitting key melody and then some bendy breakdowns.
Thus far, my favorite song from the album is “Smokahontas.” It has an awesome intro, reappearing bends on low strings to break up palm mutes, and subtle synth runs over the chorus. Some more uncomplicated riffing is present, but it still works for the song, and is another example of them wanting to show off a heavier side. There is an electro/house style bridge with a drop into a section with dubstep effects, and then another drop into what may be the best breakdown on the album. Chanted vocals come in to pick things up again, and a two-step beat leads listeners to the final breakdown. The song has a lot of variety, and this is something I can appreciate.
While this album has some more than decent songs, there is one that I found to be particularly awful. This track is entitled “Lonely,” and to be honest, I couldn’t even listen to the entire song. It starts out sounding very tacky, giving me the feel of popular Asian music (usually love songs). I cannot tolerate the vocals, and I’m not really sure of what the band was thinking with the track. I’m considering deleting the song from my hard drive, so that I won’t have to skip it or feel embarrassed as the album plays on my stereo.
To conclude, this album has definitely kept things exciting. There were some curve balls and some downfalls, but I think that the band is still in search of exactly where they want to be with their sound. It’s good that they can overlook all the hate they receive, but hopefully, they will stick to the heavy. This is another band I always enjoy seeing live, and it’s time to start recruiting your biggest friend for the chicken fight at their set on Warped ’10.