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We Came As Romans - 'Cold Like War' Album Review


1. Vultures With Clipped Wings 2. Cold Like War 3. Two Hands 4. Lost In The Moment 5. Foreign Fire 6. Wasted Age 7. Encoder 8. If There's Something To See (feat. Eric Vanlerberghe From I PREVAIL) 9. Promise Me 10. Learning To Survive

This band was brought to my attention a few years ago, and I thought there was ‘something’ to them back then. Sadly I stepped away from their music for a bit, not due to a disliking more a new expedition into different genres within the music scene. Recently I was brought back to their attention, full force and I am very committed! Why? Because I have been reminded of that ‘something’ and honestly I couldn’t be happier to be reintroduced! Now if you’re not already wondering about this ‘something’ then hopefully whats below will kick your curiosity into gear. 'Cold Like War' is the fifth album to be released by We Came As Romans, and honestly the guys albums just get better and better. Their music is always at such a high standard that you just assume that their albums will be consistent, which they’re not as there's a little more each time. Now personally this is currently my favourite album of theirs, which yes sounds cynical because it's their latest release but there are so many reasons why it is! First off how the album starts. I could speak about this for hours, but don’t worry I’ve shortened it to a few sentences. With low tones and almost an organ sound, and deep dooming vibes the first song starts to paint a sad picture. However when very subtle vocals kick in singing “This is an end, so I'm starting again to return to form”, the song takes a twist. Shortly after the harsh vocals begin and the whole dynamic of the song changes! It's not fast, harsh and powerful. This sets an incredible starting point for the album and We Came As Romans definitely maintain it throughout, however not in the same format. Now my favourite songs on this album are below, and it was really hard to pick my favourite out. Now I know that's something you are probably thinking “ugh everybody says that”, but hand on heart it was super difficult to decide.

• Its a given really that this is my number one favourite track as I've already mentioned it, but here it is. First track on the album is 'Vultures With Clipped Wings'. As I said above the way this track starts is phenomenal! With its dark and doomy sounds mixed with some lighter notes that sound less organ and more synthesiser. The soft subtle lyrics and then the big drop of harsh vocal, and then the bigger drop of the drums and guitar, this track is an absolute must to starting the album. I couldn't have picked a better opening track myself. Now besides the music itself being so powerful, and filled with layering that makes me super excited (because there is so much more of that to go into), the lyrics for this one also emphasis the power that this band holds in their music. We Came As Romans are quite the lyrical geniuses as well as musical performance geniuses, and I guess that comes quite in handy for them. So going from the title straight away we are introduced to Vultures, a bird known for praying on the week and the dying/dead as their food. Vultures are used after as a sign for evil. So making them sound weaker by clipping their wings, is one thing. But then as the lyrics in the song state there is a war being fought, and it is being done by these guys. The lyrics paint a picture of being a puppet, trying to please others and losing the truth self. But then fighting back by being the true self because peace wasn't found being the puppet, and that they are strong enough to take the vultures that fed on them, and making them weak or even their own. Typically clipping a birds wings can mean making them less able to fly, so this can make them dependable on you as they cant leave. A bit of a morbid bit of knowledge there, but with the concept of that used on a bird used to define evil behaviour it portrays a powerful message of overcoming and strength to be better than the evil. This for me makes this song even better than its incredible musical talent, and great opener. But it also sets the stones for the rest of the album, which often are far from what you expect, which is the best bit about any album when you can't predict.

• 'Lost In The Moment' is track number 4 on the album. And it definitely brings a twist to the original format of showing the power and harshness about the guys. For me this track is solely about its music. Starting off with distorted and muffled drums and synthesiser, the track slowly releases the power of these instruments with the addition of some killer guitar riffs that feature the beautiful metallic strummed guitar string sound vividly. Besides the beginning of the track being so enticing, the track grabs your attention more and more with its layering and vocals. The track despite showing some more of the softer side of Rock to begin with it doesn't stay that way for long. As the heavier drums and harsh vocals come gliding through with just as much power as they do in the opening track. What I like about this track is the fact you get a little more softer vocals to appreciate but that the grittiness to the guitar for the heavier Rock genre they tend to stick with is still very apparent. The lyrics for this track add to the strength the music produces, with strong lines like ' I wanna live lost in the moment' and 'Wont be caught in the hands of time' you can't help but feel the strength building in your chest. This song for me is almost like a 'F this' moment, a 'I will live like its my last day' moment. And it truly resonates within every aspect of this song! But it also feels a tiny bit like there's a reason for that feeling, that maybe something happened to kick start this now badass movement of living in the moment and truly treasuring it.

• 'Foreign Fire' is the fifth track on the album, and it brings even more than the one before it. For me this track is all about its technique, creativity and lyrics. This track for me bares more emotional bearing than the others, and that makes it connectable and feels more truthful. What is it about? Well everyone will have their own encryption of the lyrics, but for me it feels a little bit like a mix between being bitter, glad and sad about a break up. This for me comes from lyrics such as 'I'm the story of the one you used to love', 'I swear to god I tried to come back home, be by your side' and 'I shed the youth I lived in'. Now this might not be the route the band decide on with the lyrics, but this is what I personally encrypt, again you may find something different in it. However the lyrics in this song aren't the only clever thing about this track. The track features drums and rhythm guitar riffs that you find in the greatest Heavy Rock songs, with distortion and very articulated and skill filled drumbeats throughout. But then lead bring a little twist by mixing Heavy Rock and Classic Rock riffs together mixing them within the chorus and versus'. This use of layering by the instruments is creative as it doesn't just thicken the track, but adds flavour and personality to it. But it is also reflected within the lyrics too, as there is the classic feature of soft and harsh vocals, but also a spoken vocal piece. By doing this it adds a conversation feeling to the song, and again makes it even more connectable. But by having three different concepts of vocals, this layering technique within this track really emphasises the creativity this band has and the boundaries they are pushing within their creativity.

• My last but not least favourite is the seventh track on the album, which is quite significant with seven being an important number to me. Anyway, 'Encorder' stood out to me as it has a slight old school Enter Shikari vibe to it at the beginning with the use of the synthetic sounds, the use of the echo within that feature and the slow build up to the nitty gritty. It brings a slight twist to the whole album, as it brings to life the twist of Metal, Rock and Electronic/Experimental Rock worlds together. It makes you want to jam away, and that jam later becomes the need to mosh away when the heavy comes into play. After the first minute and ten seconds, the lyrics and drums and guitars really kick in. When they do, the real truth to this song becomes apparent. It's there to be brutal, it's there to be heard, it's there to be powerful. Why do I think all of these, its simple really, the 'Encorder' track features many aspects of the Rock world all in one with lyrics that are performed so intensely you feel almost a sense of pride. This track for me is about encoding the right to be here, and by here it could mean anywhere. Life, the town, the music scene, the position in the family or even career. Again that interpretation is solely on the listener, and may not be what the band are getting at. But for me there feels a lot of empowerment is being pushed through. Almost a "I deserve this". This track features some killer musical talent, and I could listen to it over and over again! And that's not just because how good it is, but because the more you listen the more you get to appreciate each instrument from the bass providing a solid heartbeat that's oozing that deep fierce booming. To the lead and rhythm playing a almost chaser sound, of being in lead, with incredible riffs that audio wise is a pleasure to hear. To the drums being filled with so many technical moves, its so difficult to hear the transitions happen because they are so smoothly done. The mix of the synthesiser as well, is just incredible as it isn't drowned out and it isn't overpowering. Its layered in so nicely its the jam to the victoria sponge cake. 'Encoder' for me is the proof in the pudding for the 'something' I told you at the beginning this band has. All in all this album is absolutely killing it, and I'm so glad that We Came As Romans have produced such a beauty. Even more so what stood out to me about this album are the following two things. Firstly the clever artwork. A wolf, a snake, an arrow and some interesting plant. They don't quite make a circle, but they make a powerful message. Wolves are seen as leaders, their a tough animal. Snakes are seen as sneaky, tricksters and sly. Plants with flowers are seen as beautiful and peaceful. And an arrow is seen as a weapon, used by powerful people. Incorporating all of them together, where the arrow is hurting the wolf who is after the snake that's climbing the plant that has also grown through the wolf is an interesting concept of art. What does it mean - I couldn't tell you, but it certainly feels right for the album. The border around is also makes it feel important, like this image is to be seen by all. The second thing, my brother has a similar taste to me with his music taste in that its wide spread. However he isn't really a fan of Hardcore, Heavy Rock music. Yet when in the car with me whilst I'm absolutely jamming away to this album, he found himself not sold be We Came As Romans, but enjoying their softer songs. He even stated to me that they sounded like proper head banging music, and very heavy. Which for me is a selling point, and incredible that he even paid that much attention to a genre he particularly avoids. So seriously, check this album out and keep your ears peeled for that 'something' that We Came As Romans have, because once you've heard it you wont be able to step away from this band. And if you've already heard it in the previous work, get ready for it to be emphasised.

Review - Leanne Gibson

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