Friday, July 3, 2009

A Day To Remember – Homesick

I really didn’t want to like this band since they are considered trendy and poppy by the more orthodox metal and hardcore fans. However, after I saw them live at the Warped Tour last weekend my mind has changed. I’ve been listening to their album quite a bit to figure out what is so catchy and remarkable about A Day To Remember. I realized that it is two things: the excellent way they blend seemingly opposing musical styles and the fact that they are clearly influenced by a lot of good bands. They certainly have the pop-punk sensibilities of some of the best and I hear (at least implicitly) the influences of Blink 182, New Found Glory, Taking Back Sunday and Good Charlotte. On the other hand they are clearly influenced by melodic hardcore and metalcore bands to generate their crushing breakdowns and they share similarities with Underoath, From Autumn to Ashes, Silverstein, The Devil Wears Prad and maybe a little taste of Unearth and Parkway Drive’s raw mosh power.

Their vocalist is up there with the best of the pop-punk bands and has more of a range since he does most of the screaming vocals as well. The guitar work on Homesick is amazing, the riffs are interesting and it is a real feat to be able to blend their heavy hardcore elements with very melodic and poppy choruses. The drumming is spot on as well and is the driving force of their live show, especially during breakdowns. My favorite track is “The Downfall of Us All” since it is extremely catchy and has an awesome breakdown. The heavier tracks that I really dig are “Mr. Highway’s Thinking About the End” and “Welcome to the Family”, so people who doubt the heaviness of this band should check them out. I also really like “I’m Made of Wax…” and “My Life For Hire” which have great catchy choruses yet still bring in heavier hardcore parts to the songs.

I’m sure a lot of people may criticize my opinion of this band as “trendy pop-core” but just think about that concept. You’re telling me that it is now trendy for bands to add hardcore elements to their songs…and that’s a bad thing? It’s not like this band was ever a pure hardcore band or a pure pop-punk band, they have always utilized a hybrid style that does set them apart from a lot of other bands. And nor is this style a “new” trend, this band is simply getting more attention because they actually do a good job at it and probably have excellent marketing. Even so, their live show and the response from fans is evidence enough that this band is very solid and will not be going away anytime soon.

If you’ve read this review, listened to the album a few times and still don’t like the band that is fine; I tried not to like them myself. But please analyze what it is that makes you dislike them and share your opinion. Also, think about other bands that have combined pop-punk attributes with metalcore that you actually liked (From Autumn To Ashes, Thrice, Underoath) and consider the differences. Or how about comparing their style to more recent bands like Chiodos, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Sky Eats Airplane, and The Devil Wears Prada. Some people consider the band to be "post-hardcore", I do not and I will discuss the concept behind this genre in a later entry.

This album is certified 8/10 Nasty! A Day To Remember have created an interesting blending of genres, although not exactly groundbreaking. The album is well written and has catchy melodic parts balanced with brutal hardcore breakdowns. It is a better album than their first two releases but if you like it, definitely check them out. What more could a fan of metalcore and pop-punk ask for?

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