This Means War
With the re-release last year of their self titled record, ATTACK ATTACK! gave their fans and the world at large, a taste of the general direction they were gravitating towards. Those 4 tracks encompassed sheer brutality as well as a later day EIGHTEEN VISIONS rock vibe, all these combined to make the band no longer sound one dimensional. With This Means War, they try to expand upon that same formula, but unfortunately they end up stuck on repeat. While some tracks, like album opener ‘The Revolution’ rages and stomps around like the little brother of LEGEND, the other songs, although minutely different, end up sounding the same. Even the over abundant use of electronics on previous efforts has been cut down to the bare minimum here, and instead of hindering the band’s growth, it actually adds flare to the songs it appears in. Not being sure what the premise of this record is supposed to be, it is a concept record after all, it’s a little hard to digest the lyrical themes of revolution without reading the lyrics to get the full effect. It’s still not a terrible record at all, it’s just nothing that hasn’t been heard before. One has to give them credit though as ATTACK ATTACK! are without a doubt making a conscious effort to add a more ‘mature’ sound to what they do. It works, and diehards will love this, even though they ditched the more-often-than-not corny song titles. Each song does have it’s own bounce and displays enough punch that in a live setting, it should go off pretty damn hard. Musically, This Means War should be listened to while driving down the road and not just laying around the house, until you’re sure it’s what you really dig. ATTACK ATTACK! are pretty eager to break the mold that they themselves have helped create by not releasing another mediocre metalcore record. This Means War is a healthy step in the right direction. -by Jon Hole
Recommended listening: Depends on the listener…no recommendations here today. Just listen.
Production credits: Produced and Mixed by Caleb Shomo. Additional vocal production by Sean Mackowski.
Release date: January 17, 2012 (although it has been rumored it may be pushed back to the 31st)
In conclusion…Attack Attack!’s This Means War most deservedly should be given a listen before writing them off. It’s a more mature record and should be heard.
THE SECOND OPINION REVIEW:
Somewhere out there is a negative review of the last AA! record by yours truly. Frankly, I haven’t really enjoyed the band since Austin left. Even when he was still the vocalist, they weren’t mind blowing. However, these guys get a lot of hype and sell big numbers. Their last record, which was self titled, received great acclaim from fans and garnished a deluxe edition with all kinds of goodies. However, I felt the album was an absolute mess. It felt so mix matched that it kept me from being able to enjoy it. Luckily, AA! have decided to go a bit more straight forward this time. Instead of using a lot of pop and electronics like before, This Means War is mostly grizzly, angry hardcore. The vocal work is a bit hit-and-miss. The screaming is solid, but doesn’t change enough (highs and lows are important). The singing is also a bit off. At times, it sounds very fitting (like during “The Motivation”), while at other times the balance between the pitches of screaming to singing just don’t blend well. This happens the most unfortunately. Kudos for Caleb not going all high pitch, but he tends to lack passion in his singing. To someone like me, where vocals are very important, this is quite a downfall for the record. Nonetheless, the overall atmosphere is brutal and generally fun. At times, I would even use the word “intense”. However, Attack Attack! still aren’t keeping my attention as much as I would expect from a band with such large numbers. It’s good to hear them pick a particular sound to stick with, instead of jump all over the place, but now they need to work on developing it more. At this rate, however, their next record could very well be bad ass. I’m hoping this ends up being the case. – by Nathaniel Lay