We Came As Romans – “Cold Like War” (Sharp Tone Records)
Post hardcore is one of those fuzzy terms that oldsters like me struggle with. It can incorporate a number of (un)conventional styles into a hardcore base either to a greater or lesser degree to create an often highly catchy sound through the use of prominent melodies and even dance beats. Whatever the case, there’s a whole heap of youngsters that dig it for its energized grooves, harmonies and overt positivity! We Came As Romans hail from northern Detroit and pretty much fit that bill. Formed in 2005, they’ve already released 2 EPs and 4 full length albums (3 of which have hit the Billboard charts) attesting to their popularity (across 5 continents and 40 different countries) and it’s easy to see why. Employing no less than 6 members many of whom are multi instrumentalists, the band effectively meld hardcore, beats and pop into an addictive mix through emotionally charged, yet positive music that hits the mark both aurally and if you want to bop out on the dance floor. With a potential 3 pronged guitar providing plenty of heavy riffs when needed, We Came As Romans also skillfully use clean and unclean vocals with a potential of 3 backing vocals to boot – now that’s one helluva sound, not to mention stage presence! Without a doubt though, the secret weapon they use to great effect are Kyle Pavone’s synths and keyboards that prominently blast body electrifying beats and more stealthily incredible soulful melodies that create instant passion and euphoria. From aggression to sorrow, love to hate, “Cold Like War” runs the full gambit of emotion on 10 possessive songs with plenty of passion and little shame. ‘Foreign Fire’ is definitive of the contrast between harsh ugly hardcore and blissful pop tenderness that initially threatens divide yet in the skillful hands of this band and especially Kyle Pavone’s blissful melodies, suave samples and stunning keyboards unbelievably binds the two into ecstatic harmony. Then there’s ‘If There’s Nothing To See’ that opens with some beautiful polymorphic guitar melodies before moshing it up with hardcore crashing in while keeping a catchy teen chorus of ‘…we were so young, we were so vivid..’ and holding the emotion of it all throughout. Breaking away from the circle is ‘Promise Me’ which is a synth ballad with radio miked vocals and in the main, simple and tender but builds steadily to include the harder elements to its emotional climax. Unbelievable – and that’s just 3 of the choice cuts here! If life is about trials and tribulations, then this album is surely the one to get you through them.