Sunday, November 27, 2011

Story Of The Year And The Constant

Story of the Year's latest album, The Constant, is an interesting progression from their last album, The Black Swan. Not picking up where they left off on The Black Swan, the band have headed in a completely different direction than their previous record. Think of The Black Swan as essentially the aural equivalent of a nuclear detonation, and The Constant as a coupe sticks of dynamite that almost fail to explode; in other words, this album is far less aggressive than their last album and its completely obvious.

While The Constant chugs along with determination and some pretty heavy riffs it seems as though the band's post-everything conquest of destruction was left in the dust. In fact, much of The Constant seems far more melodic than anything on The Black Swaneven hinted at. In listening to this record it seems as though Story of Year were bitten by the commercial bug and lost everything that made their last album unbelievably heavy and incredibly good. Produced by Elvis Baskette (Chevelle, Cold, etc) the band traded in that pummeling grinding screamo, post hard core sound in for something far more radio friendly and harmonic. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, The Constant sounds ridiculously commercial. Blame it on production or blame it on the songs it doesn't really matter because this record just isn't nearly as strong as The Black Swan.

While there are glimmers of hope scattered throughout The Constant (see "To The Burial" or "Won Threw Hate"), so much of the record sounds like it's lost a lot of it's demonic heart. I really enjoyed their last album for it's sheer brutality and aggression, but The Constant is constantly lacking any of those traits. Instead, the band channel their energies into creating a strange concoction of stoner rock, emo, and post hardcore that almost seems like it's designed to make this already gargantuan band even bigger. I may be in the minority here, but I think The Black Swan was their masterpiece and potentially the bands peak. The Constantsounds like a good idea that lost it's way. Commercial and almost a bit too cliche for it's own good, Story of the Year should do their best to revisit the power of The Black Swan and tap back into the brutality that powered that record.

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