Equal parts Four Year Strong and A Wilhelm Scream with a dash of Title Fight, So Many Ways have enough going for them on their Mightier Than Sword debut EP that they can admirably meld the obvious influences into something that is passionate, catchy and often times damn good. While certainly not genre-defining, there’s enough to impress here that you’ll be sure to hear this band’s name popping up in the near future.
From the hair metal-esque shredding of introduction “Take It to the Limit,” there’s no question these guys have some impressive musicianship beneath the melodies and breakdowns heard here. Blending right into the brash “I’ve Made a Huge Mistake,” the band clashes melody-infused fretwork with gruff vocals for full steam ahead verses that provide the meat of the track. Tinged with bright yet catchy choruses, the track apexes with a punching, yet simple breakdown that breaks out the shredding for our first true taste of how this band is able to incorporate their fast-fingered fretwork into an upbeat arrangement.
“Sleep Mask” finds the band channeling pop-punk namesakes like Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals, though they manage to keep it somewhat fresh with searing lyricism and a helpful dose of their quicker palm-mute-laced guitar work. The problem is, the track seems almost too familiar to shake itself of the sounds we’ve heard from FYS and SYG respectively. The five-and-a-half minute running time is a bit drawn out as well.
The tandem of “Murf’s Life Hints” and “37 Chambers” proves to be a much more enjoyable fare, as the former brings a faster skate-punk feel to the table to provide momentary showcases for the band’s smart melodies and admittedly better-sounding hardcore-influenced songwriting with slow-downs and growling vocals to boot. “37 Chambers” brings us back to FYS-land, but finds the band making better use of pounding guitars laced with in-your-face vocals that don’t get lost in familiar melodies.
The album ends with a vocal scatter, featuring some of the EP’s best vocal lines (“Oak Island”) backed by relentless guitar work. Though the band falls back to their mosh-laced ways, they make fans of Rise or Die Trying weep with glee during this doozy of a track. “Dirtfoot” hails a sound drop of Aqua Teen origins, finishing the EP with a solid amount of melody-flinging punk rock that captures the fun this band can harness if they don’t fall into the traps of earlier tracks.
While the band’s history has been filled with member changes, their sound on this self-titled EP is enough to suggest they have what it takes to charge to the forefront of their hardcore-tinged pop-punk scene. With hefty musical chops and some solid songwriting, expect to see So Many Ways deliver on the promise heard on this EP.