The fourth full-length record from the Michigan group We Came As Romans hits almost all the right notes. The band’s self-titled touches on some of the major themes of life: identity crises, falling in and out of love, and the ever-changing nature of the world as a whole. Some pretty heavy stuff, but We Came As Romans have never shied from heavy topics.
Musically the album showcases a broad range of styles. There is, of course, the traditional hardcore screaming over thumping guitar riffs and pounding drum beats. But they also incorporate pop punk elements, repetitive choruses and a strong electronic tone that hums throughout the album. It’s a range that works well.
In “Flatline,” the opening verse gets crooned out with a whiny Tom Delonge-inspired voice, hitting a pop punk high note that carries throughout the album. The song “Who Will Pray” juxtaposes a deep life question (“If I fall too far, disappear in the dark/ Who will pray for me tomorrow?”) with some computer licks that could feel just as at home in an Imagine Dragons song. “Defiance” also starts with electronic strumming, seeming particularly influenced by early-2000s Linkin Park. But We Came As Romans’ use of metaphors sets them apart. In the second verse of “Defiance” they sing, “Ready to contend, ready to withstand/ Open up these walls built to keep you out/ Nothing you say can make me give up/ I’m persistent like a river cuts through a rock.”
While WCAR pepper the album with electronic beats and synthetic sounds, it never becomes too much. The self-titled’s electronic undertone helps keep a continuous theme as the songs jump from semi-ballads like “Memories” to full on hardcore affairs like “Regenerate.” It works as a unifying theme and helps make the album cohesive, even though they pull from all corners of the rock world for each song. It’s a solid album, and a great addition to We Came As Romans’ discography as a whole, but not the second coming of the rock gods.
by Maria Spiridigliozzi