I’ve quickly become a huge fan of We Came As Romans because of their beautiful mix of brutal metalcore and calm, symphonic parts in their songs. But the other reason why I love them so much is because of their lyrics. The band isn’t technically a Christian band, but their themes are undoubtedly very positive and uplifting. So two years on from their debut, To Plant A Seed, the Detroit natives are back and have recently recorded their sophomore album, titled Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be; it will be released on September 13. They just released two singles on iTunes, one of which is titled “Mis//Understanding” and the other being the title track.
Just from the start of “Mis//Understanding,” you can tell that this record is going to be a bit darker and heavier than the band’s previous effort. David Stephens’ screams dig right into the music from the start, sounding hardcore, more along the lines of, say, Miss May I or The Devil Wears Prada. On paper, the song is basically about the band’s struggles through understanding. My favorite lyric is also one that a lot of people can relate to (“Have you ever felt like you did everything right and it still all went wrong?”), and this song should help those people’s lives grow. Joshua Moore’s lyrics, which are scripted directly from his personal journals, are undeniably some of the best I’ve seen in the genre.
Then we get the clean vocals, and I know there are going to be a lot, I mean, a LOT of complaints about them. Kyle Pavone’s vocals are either loved or hated, so basically that forms a dividing line between liking or disliking this song. Some people find them overproduced or simplistic. I’ve personally kind of gotten over the annoying aspect of Pavone’s computerized singing and grown to enjoy it. I also enjoyed the fantastic job the band did mixing and polishing the song, as it’s definitely one of the best songs that We Came As Romans has to offer, musically and lyrically.
The next song, “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be,” is another excellent offering from the band. The intro is nice and riff-heavy, and immediately transforms into another strong vocal effort from Pavone. This song is a bit slower than the first one, but it has a more natural and emotional quality to it. There are more symphonic parts and it has an alluring quality. But it’s not too long until Stephens bursts in, giving yet another flawless vocal performance along with the chunks of guitar wrapped up by the great drum parts. The best part of the song is near the closing, when audio clips of people recite the words “I need to understand,” making the song more epic when it reaches its final moments, which include an echoing chorale and a slow, emotional ending.
Once again, the lyrics are what struck me the most and stuck in my heart. The second song has a more religious feel to it (“Tonight, as I look into the sky, I know this is why I am alive”), which makes me wonder: if the lyrics are so explicitly Christian, why doesn’t the band just come out and say it? But it’s their choice, not mine. I don’t really have a problem with it.
In the end, these two songs are great additions to We Came As Romans’ great catalogue of wondrous music. The band’s sound contradicts itself, but in a great way. Their music grabs listeners and affects their mood. It may cause a change of heart, a more positive outlook on life, or possibly even a tear or two. These two songs don’t show a lot of improvement from the band, nor are they much of a change from their previous songs, but they have a message that I want to get behind and be part of. And musically I think they’re going down the right path. Hopefully the rest of Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be is just as good, if not even better than these two tracks.
Post-Hardcore/Metalcore | Equal Vision Records