More than a few wondered if Tyler Carter’s departure from Woe, Is Me spelled doom for the band. The singer was the prince of R&B-core (the heir of King Jonny Craig’s throne) and the main draw of Woe and their debut record, Number[s]. As first reported by Mind Equals Blown, former Oh, Manhattan vocalist Hance Alligood was tapped to take the wheel and keep the band from skidding off into oblivion. With “Vengeance,” see that things haven’t changed much except for a slightly different aftertaste.
Right off the bat, the track feels heavier than anything from their short library, following “Fame>Demise” (their last single with Carter) in intensity. You’ve got to commend the band for slow-playing their hand; when the electronics slow things down at 0:52, you’re sure Woe will follow their formulaic approach and let Hance wail it out. Instead, they let screamer Michael Bohn rip away for a full 40 seconds more before the cleans kick in, building the suspense further before unveiling their new weapon.
After an anxious 97 seconds, Alligood makes his top notch vocal debut with a chorus displaying his immense power and gorgeous tone. The appeal of the singer isn’t in his vocal acrobatics like Carter, but the depth and strength of his voice displayed on the Oh, Manhattan record. His opening line (“maybe one day, I’ll probably make / more of an impact than you’ll ever fake…”) is an instant sing-along, begging to be played for monstrous crowds of kids. The warped fade-out is typical Woe, but transitions back into Bohn’s madness nicely.
Alligood’s second showing is again impressive despite not being tailored to his strengths. Both the melody and approach are reminiscent of Carter’s stylings, calling for many vocal runs and overdubs. Even still, Hance plays the part well, relying on great rasp and solid range to push through the verse into a full minute outro that he owns completely. It was relieving to hear the harmonies that made Oh, Manhattan’s album stellar present in the last few moments; Hance on top of Hance is an unbelievable sound.
It’s clear from the lyrics that there’s some bad blood here. The themes touch on everything from Hance’s arrival and imminent stardom, the band’s perseverance through turmoil and the exiling of their former singer. Some choice lines presumably directed at Carter include “selfishness owns you I hope you can see /
The family you loved is now the enemy,” and “you wanted fame / so fuck your ego.” Clearly the split wasn’t amicable, and it’s a bit unsettling to see Woe go for Tyler’s throat; the kid’s singing played a key role in making the band what it is today.
Even with this great comeback track, I offer a warning to the band: don’t try to mold Hance Alligood into Tyler Carter. All vocalists have different strengths and weaknesses, and these singers weren’t cut from the same cloth. Alligood has all the tools to be a star in his own right and on his own terms if the carefully-crafted Woe, Is Me product allows him to. Hance’s limited history has already catapulted him into the upper echelon of post-hardcore singers, and this new platform will boost his ranking even further.
All in all, this was a solid showing for Woe, Is Me and a strong debut for Alligood. The next test comes tomorrow with the band’s next show in the UK with A Skylit Drive. It’s fairly clear now though that the legions of fans backing this band have nothing to worry about.