Many bands come into being with the ultimate goal of inspiring others, defining the essence of hope in their lives and often hatching positivity in the most negative of places. We Came As Romans is one of those bands. Over the past few years they’ve grown, but as they grew, their sound didn’t completely represent the growth of musicians from newcomers to seasoned veterans. Instead, the group was nearly lost amongst a crowded scene. Luckily, the band’s perspective has evolved We Came As Romans into a more mature group of metalcore players, and with the first single off their upcoming record, Tracing Back Roots, this is evident sonically and emotionally.
“Tracing Back Roots,” or the title track off the sextet’s third studio album, is very reminiscent of their three previous singles. The thing most evident about the three singles – which were released as bonus tracks on Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be – is that We Came As Romans’ sound had been tweaked. Instrumentally, the band opted for a more compressed sound with a grander focus on drum beats, dense guitar chords, and overall tempo. It’s obvious from this new single that the new album will center around a variety of moods. “Tracing Back Roots” reflects this. Starting out with powerful riffage and David Stephens’ raspy screams, the song takes a route very similar to the beginning of their last album. Guitarist Joshua Moore’s lyrics invoke an intensively reflective and troubled feel. Just like the openers on the band’s first two albums, the song speaks of the band’s inception and how they’ve grown since then.
The lyrical themes may feel like a continuation of the band’s past material, but this is far from problematic. That’s mainly because the songwriting is much stronger and accomplished than ever before. Balance is the key – none of the melodies feel out of place, nor do Kyle Pavone’s clean vocals interrupt any attempts at creating a vibe. The instrumentation doesn’t create as powerful of a sound as found on their last album, nor does it provide a ton of variety. Instead, it feels straightforward and focused on the song’s mood. This is a plus and a minus, as the lack of variance is made up for with strong flow and charge. In addition to the instrumentality, it’s obvious that the band has tweaked with the cleans, placing them in spots where they prosper the most. It really sounds like they are figuring out what works for them and taking advantage of the talent they have. Even the orchestral sections take advantage of the emotional capacity of the song, transitioning from dark to bright as it develops.
While We Came As Romans still isn’t the most original metalcore outfit in the genre, they are one of the most popular because their hearts are in the right place. They have had their vision set in stone from day one, and with “Tracing Back Roots,” it’s obvious that the band is attempting to progress their identity, just as the members progress as people. Although the new advancements in sound don’t demonstrate technical mastery, they do provide evidence that they don’t rely on gimmicks, nor do they attempt to administer elements that feel out of place. Instead, they are a band of six members who are continuing to learn and develop as their hearts see fit, and hopefully we’ll see more of that when Tracing Back Roots drops on July 23.