We Came As Romans: Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be

The highly anticipated sophomore release form melodic hardcore band We Came as Romans grabs listeners by the balls and takes them on a roller coaster ride through intricate melodies and brutal beatdowns. Although its much darker and gloomier than their first record, “To Plant A Seed”, this record is just as strong if not better than their debut. I’ve been a fan of this band since the beginning and I can easily say that I am proud of this record.

The band released the two major singles for this record in the very beginning of the summer (“Mis//Understanding” and “Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be”), and I have to say, after being able to sit with these two songs for a couple months now, the rest of the album didn’t really jump out as fast as those two songs, but you don’t get everything out of a We Came as Romans song with just one listen. This isn’t a grower album because you’ll be hooked immediately, but you won’t get everything out of just one listen. You need to really listen a couple times before you can truly absorb them. Thats what I like this band so much. They’re really pushing the boundaries and aren’t you’re typical hardcore band.

It’s becoming harder and harder to classify bands into genres nowadays because a lot of bands have multiple elements layered into their music, causing for more sub-genres of hardcore punk music to develop. One of which being melodic hardcore and We Came as Romans are one of the bands at the forefront of this genre. We Came as Romans are really like no other band. They have a clean singer (Kyle, who also plays keyboards/synths) as well as an unclean vocalist, which is obviously very common in post-hardcore/metalcore bands nowadays, but there’s something I like about Kyle’s vocals and that is that there’s balls to it. It sounds masculine as opposed to most other post hardcore bands that have a scream singer and then drift into sugar sweet, really light vocals for other vocal hooks (Of Mice and Men, Abandon All Ships, and Asking Alexandria right off the bat fir that description). There’s something metallic almost in Kyle’s voice that just sounds much stronger and more confident than some other singers. Most likely it’s the studio twisting his voice, but it still sounds badass.

The band are also much more symphonic than their contemporaries. That huge, symphonic aspect is huge on this record in particular, filling up the entire record to the brim with brilliant soundscapes and majestic tones. This record just sounds so round and full and even though there’s so much going on in just one song, it’s not spastic like an iwrestledabearonce record. It’s very controlled and every instrument pulls their weight, creating an orchestral sound that sends listeners on a musical odyssey from start to finish. There’s also a significant increase in keyboard appearances on this record, which makes me believe that Kyle is starting to write a little more, which is great because if he is writing a bit more than kudos to them because the songs are fantastic.

Lyrically, this album is much darker than “To Plant a Seed”. Even the title of the last record supports the lyrical themes of the last record. There were lots of uplifting, almost inspirational lyrics about love and ambition (which actually lead to a big debate as to whether the band were a christian band like Underoath). This new record turns the tables a little on the lyrical sense. It’s not all about death and destruction, but it’s a bit more…dare i say philosophical. Lots of times I fee like it’s the band evaluating themselves as people and as a band and engaging their listeners to do the same (if that makes any sense). For example, the chorus for the song “The Way That We Have Been” goes, ‘We can’t keep living the way that we have been/it’ll catch up to us/and destroy everything else as well’.  It’s still very inspirational, but I found it to be a bit darker in places.The lyrics as a whole help add to the musical spectrum of the album because music and lyrics go hand in hand obviously and the more orchestral end mixed with the darker lyrics adds a whole new dimension to this record.

Like i said before, most of you who are fans of this will no doubt have already heard “Mis//Understanding” and “Understanding What We’ve grown to Be” months before this record landed, but after listening to this album a few times, a couple other big songs are really sticking out to me. I’m a big fan of this song called “Cast the First Stone”. I can’t quite explain exactly why I like that song in particular over most of the songs on this record; there’s just something about that pushes that green button inside me. Songs like “Everything as Planned” and “Views that Never cease, to Keep me from myself” are also huge tunes. My absolute favorite song off this record though is a song called “A War Inside”, not only is it the longest song on the album (as well as the longest song the band ever wrote clocking in at five and a half minutes long), but it really sounds like a war musically. Kyle and Dave trade off vocal lines more frequently than most songs and the song goes back and forth between super heavy and sweet and melodic very frequently. The keyboards are also the driving force in this song, breaking down into one of the most beautiful keyboard melodies i’ve ever heard from a band like this in the last half of the song. It’s actually a bit of an expansive departure of the band and if you are a fan like me, then I think you’ll all be huge fans of this song, as well as the record itself.

One thing i’ve found with bands is that even if you don’t quite get hooked on their record, you should still check out the band if they play live near your area, especially if you’re fan of the bands earlier work. A lot of times I’v never liked a record until after I saw the songs played live. Then it clicks inside me and i go back home, listen to the record, and go ‘I get it now’. With all the huge songs on this record, seeing them pulled off successfully live would be fucking amazing (at least for me it would be). I highly recommend this band to anyone who is a fan of bands like Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada and/or August Burns Red.

Luke Helker


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