Now here’s an album that makes me regret screamo ever existing. In the end of last year, We Came As Romans released their debut LP To Plant A Seed, and it’s a mixture of promising arrangements and growls over some of the worst emo singing to ever hit the market. Calling the vocals emo is an insult to actual emo. It’s sad, because for the first minute of the opening and title track, I was really excited for this review. That’s not how this turned out, however.
I’ll focus on the good stuff first. The musical composition is surpisingly good. The guitars are heavy, semi-intricate, and all around well-played. There are some great melodies mixed in with bouts of relentless chugging, and a few punchy, strategically placed breakdowns for good measure. The drums are also well above average, and they mix perfectly with the guitar riffs to keep things very interesting. This combination actually made To Plant A Seed listen-able for the sake of this review, and it’s the album’s one saving grace. There’s a keyboardist present here too, and while the electronics are fairly minimal, they work out very well.
The vocals are a major let down for me. I liked the growls well enough, as the range of the guy’s scream is fairly impressive. The screaming is a bit more abundant than the singing, which was another plus, but it just wasn’t enough to save it. I’m under the impression that the clean vocalist is a different person, and I’ll stay with this thought to give the screamer credit, because let’s face it: the clean vocals suck. I’m sure there’s a flock of assholes with feathered haircuts who feel differently, but they probably like to blow each other while they cry about girls. The flat, twangy voice of whoever does the clean singing killed any chances of me liking this album. It’s kind of a travesty, because otherwise, We Came As Romans is an awesome band. There’s just no denying that, while the screaming vocals are saying “I eat puppies and faces for breakfast”, the clean singing is telling me “I enjoy crying in front of the mirror and male genitals”. It makes the vocals that I would normally complain about seem like Pavarotti.
The production quality of the record is very good, which isn’t a shock when you consider the market there is for this style of musical aberration. Everything that is good about the record sounds great, but it also makes the awful singing that much more glaring. No amount of studio magic can make that shit sound good. The best part of the album is the Paul Romano artwork. It scares me to think of what the audience for We Came As Romans might be, so I can’t bring myself to recommend it. The regular metal crowd should treat this one as if it were the bubonic plague.
01. To Plant A Seed
02. Broken Statues
04. Roads That Don’t End And Views That Never Cease
06. We Are The Reasons
08. I Will Not Reap Destruction
09. Searching, Seeking, Reaching, Always
10. An Ever-Growing Wonder