A Day To Remember have been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while. I always liked the few bands that tried to merge the metal scene with straight up pop punk, and they were one of the successful ones. Since I got their first album “And Their Name Was Treason” I knew they were going to become something special, and take the world by storm. Well, they took the world by storm that is for sure.
Victory records scooped them up shortly after “And Their Name Was Treason” and they shortly there after released a more friendly, pop sounding “For Those Who Have Heart.” A solid album, but just not the direction I was looking for them to go. Seeing them live numerous times though, I knew they were a fun act. In fact, the cover that made them famous they avoided at shows (even though half the crowd was there to hear “Since You’ve Been Gone”). I wouldn’t even call it a sophomore slump since it was a good album, but I wanted more. In came “Homesick,” an album that showed they were still tough guys sometimes. It seemed to take the best elements of “For Those Who Have Heart” and make it angrier. The band was also getting tighter by the album. “Homesick” was very good, but still was missing that originality flare, the fun flare that “And Their Name Was Treason” had. So, does “What Separates Me from You” bring them back to their founding roots? Let’s take a closer look.
This album is extremely difficult to judge for me. By all means it is A Day To Remember at their tightest, most technical and most professional. This album has nothing missing and no flaws. But this is where it fails. The album, which I have listened to numerous times to try to love it, has just come down to being SAFE. Maybe that’s not a bad thing, they have something that works, stick to it. But the reason I fell in love with the band in the first place was the little things they did in each song to make it quirky and weird. Nothing more fun that screaming to the top of your lungs “And I’ll burn the building if I knew you’d die, And I’ll pray you’re a failure, And that you won’t make it out alive” in a weird cryptic voice with my fiance who hates metal. This is what A Day To Remember meant to me. A band that got metal heads to like pop punk, and pop fans to scream out angry phrases without realizing they were becoming metal heads. No more though.
I don’t really even know how to explain this feeling. We still love seeing them live, love most of their songs but between the two of us only have “And Their Name Was Treason” on our iPhones. “And Their Name Was Treason” is A Day To Remember, nothing more needed I guess. Becoming better musicians and releasing better produced music doesn’t always give you that same warm feeling I guess.
Well enough about that rant I guess. Let’s go over the album at hand, which you will probably not understand the rant above if you read the below first.
The album opens with “Sticks & Bricks” which is a hammer to the teeth. Simple breakdowns but punishing execution make this is a great introduction. Like the past 2 albums, it fluctuates between heavy, soft, soft/heavy and so forth. “2nd Sucks” is your next full heavy song, and the only song in the last 3 albums that reminded me and could fit right into “And Their Name Was Treason.” Other good tunes include “It’s Complicated” and “You Be Tails, I’ll Be Sonic.”
The instrumental work is top of the line when it comes to the simple genres they house themselves in (metalcore/pop punk). Everything is tight without missing a beat. You wont hear an earth shattering solo, but you will hear some of the better pop punk riffs around. Vocals from Jeremy are top of the line as well. His singing is solid and ability to scream matches some of the better metalcore outfits.
All in all, this entire album is just too meh for me to really dig it. Everything is aligned right; I just can’t get into it. It’s like owning a rough around the edges unicorn that develops into a Clydesdale horse. Ya, Clydesdales are big and mighty, but the unicorn is fucking sweet.
01. Sticks & Bricks
02. All I Want
03. It’s Complicated
04. This Is the House That Doubt Built
05. 2nd Sucks
06. Better Off This Way
07. All Signs Point to Lauderdale
08. You Be Tails, I’ll Be Sonic
09. Out of Time
10. If I Leave