Woe, Is Me doesn’t change the metalcore formula in their promising debut Number[s], but they certainly lend to it and establish themselves as a worthy act in the same vein as other popular post-hardcore groups in an increasingly watered-down and overdone genre. Although their future is somewhat in doubt due to extensive lineup instability, this debut shows potential for the band’s future endeavors. The departure of clean vocalist Tyler Carter AND unclean vocalist Michael Bohn was a definite blow to the stability Woe, Ie Me, as they singlehandedly elevated this album above many other aspiring electronicore acts. However, replacement clean vocalist Hance Alligood proved to be more than competent in the band’s newest single “Vengeance,” even if the melody in his voice doesn’t quite contain the same soul and melody as Carter. And Doriano Magliano, who has taken over the unclean vocals, delivers formidable roars with a striking similarity to Bohn to help the band retain its same sound and hardcore verve. How the new lineup will fare performing the past songs of this remarkable album remains to be seen, as Number[s] provides a highly enjoyable take on the genre. Despite its fundamental flaws of utilizing a repetitive formula and having a short play time, Woe, Is Me’s debut album is a solid addition to metalcore and proves this band is worthy of being mentioned in the same breath with the headlining acts of the genre.
“[&] Delinquents” lets both the hardcore and electronica elements make their presence known early, blending them to create a compelling track that builds off of the album’s heavy opener. Carter’s vocals immediately command attention with poise and melody before Bohn teams up with blazing guitars and Cory Ferris’ bass to deliver one of the most pleasantly brutal sections of the album. The alternation between heavy breakdowns and Ben Ferris’ synth work, which enhances Carter’s spotlight, makes for a terrific single to really start things off.
“Hell, Or High Water” is the best song on the album, mixing all the elements of Woe, Is Me successfully into an enjoyably heavy metalcore formula. Carter’s prolific and fluid vocals shine on this track, nearly dominating a few wicked breakdowns and Ferris’ work on the keyboards. The shrill whine of Tim Sherrill’s guitar riffs and Austin Thornton’s wonderfully erratic drumming also lend to the song’s drama, which is brought to its peak with Carter’s high-pitched declarations of “You’re too far out / To swim your way in / When all is said and done / We face the problems we though would never come / These treacheries will claim you.”
“If Not, For Ourselves” shows off some variety seen only briefly in “I,” boasting some of the best slowed-down, synth-influenced sections of the album. Carter’s silky smooth vocals enhance these mellow moments, allowing the drama to build before erupting into more breakdowns and a hauntingly exquisite bridge dominated by Thornton’s incredible drumming, while Carter vows: “Who are you? / You’re a fiend, your a liar / And I will summon the hands of a fighter / And you will know who we are.”
The departure of Carter was a definitive loss for Woe, Is Me, especially in the wake of his incredibly melodic and composed high-pitched vocals that characterize this impressive debut. The future of this band would normally be in doubt after so many personnel changes, as rhythm guitarst Kevin Hanson and Thornton are the only remaining members of the original lineup. However, the release of “Vengeance” proved that talented musicians may come and go, but Woe, Is Me will stay true to their winning formula throughout. Alligood and Magliano have big shoes to step into after such a commendable debut and there’s no replacing the endowed high-pitched-song-bird vocals of Tyler Carter. However, fans of bands like We Came As Romans, I See Stars, Blessthefall, Of Mice & Men, Attack Attack!, Asking Alexandria, Jamie’s Elsewhere, Like Moths To Flames, Memphis May Fire, The Color Morale and Sleeping With Sirens should have faith and stick around for the upcoming followup before abandoning ship. Because as Number[s] proves, a delicate balance between smooth vocals, heavy breakdowns and a slight touch of electronica makes for a very good metalcore experience.
Final Score: 7/10
Rank: 1st (one total album)
- On Veiled Men
- [&] Delinquents
- Mannequin Religion
- Keep Your Enemies Close
- Hell, Or High Water
- For The Likes Of You
- Our Number[s] (Feat. Jonny Craig)
- If Not, For Ourselves
- Desolate [The Conductor] (Feat. Jonny Craig)