Our Last Night is a post-hardcore band that showed great promise with the release of their debut The Ghosts Among Us and then delivered on that potential with their terrific sophomore album We Will All Evolve. Blending furious metalcore breakdowns, guttural screams and lead singer Matt Wentworth’s pure clean vocals, this band seemed ready to take the scene by storm. But with the release of Age Of Ignorance, Our Last Night takes a step in a different direction, trading that future in for a lighter, but ultimately more mature identity. A number of long-time fans and hardcore purists will undoubtedly be disappointed with this latest entry, but it is undeniable that Age Of Ignorance deserves credit for being an ambitious and versatile album despite its departure from many of the heavy elements that made them famous. There aren’t as many breakdowns or post-hardcore-screaming goodness to be had here, but Our Last Night expands and refines their sound, thriving off Wentworth’s songbird voice and a greater reliance on prolific guitar riffs. Age Of Ignorance doesn’t live up to We Will All Evolve for obvious reasons, but shouldn’t be discounted as anything less than a quality release from a band that still has more to offer on the horizon.
Whether or not fans are onboard with the Our Last Night’s change in direction, it is impossible to deny “Fate” as one the band’s best songs of all time. An epic string ensemble provides the intro to suck the listener in right away before erupting into a frenzy of post-hardcore goodness. It never reaches the same peak of brutality as the band’s heaviest work, but Wentworth’s stellar guitar riffs and angst-filled vocals almost make up for it, as is the case throughout Age Of Ignorance. The heavy battle drums of Tim Molloy add to this transcendent track as Wentworth questions “Are we alone? Are we in control? / Can we choose to play a different role? / Can we change the grave that was dug for us? / Or is the only path to take?”
“Liberate Me” opens with mesmerizing guitar riffs and sounds closest to the Our Last Night of old, which is why it will likely find favor with fans disgruntled over the band’s new sound. Trevor Wentworth has limited opportunities to scream his lungs out on this new album, but he certainly makes the most of them here, providing an edge and aggression to this already heavy rocker. Matt Wentworth delivers his pristinely clean vocals as usual, but “Liberate Me” stands out as the best track because it brings back the brutal breakdowns and vicious post-hardcore elements Our Last Night is known for.
“Voices” shows a rarely seen side of the band as Our Last Night delivers a terrific ballad characterized by its acoustic guitar and Wentworth’s soft vocals. A soulful guitar solo in the background adds more emotion before building into the song’s climactic finale, complete with strings and accompanying, harmonizing vocals, which makes for a diverse and welcome addition to the album.
Age Of Ignorance is sure to turn off numerous fans because of its departure from the heavier metalcore sound that gathered Our Last Night a following in the first place. The band doesn’t abandon those roots entirely, but they do take a step in a new, lighter direction that relies heavily on Wentworth’s elite clean vocals. This is a more mature album and a band should be praised any time they refuse to go with the grain and produce a half-hearted record of conformity. However, Our Last Night’s transformed sound won’t topple the great work of We Will All Evolve. Age Of Ignorance is a commendable album in its own right, but the potential shown in the group’s sophomore effort certainly feels slightly let down by this change of direction. This is the kind of record that will grow on you eventually (likely because it can be replayed numerous times due to its short run time of 36 minutes), but it probably won’t fill the post-hardcore hole left in fans’ hearts. Age Of Ignorance isn’t a bad record by any means; in fact, Our Last Night’s latest album sounds pretty similar to old Saosin and represents progression for the band. But when it comes down to it, this one doesn’t deliver on the potential promised by Our Last Night’s prior albums. Fans of Saosin, Jamie’s Elsewhere, Blessthefall, The Color Morale, A Bullet For Pretty Boy, Before Their Eyes, Sleeping With Sirens, and Memphis May Fire should find something enjoyable here, but it’ll be hard to convince long-time fans to stick around without an emphasis on post-hardcore creativity.
Final Score: 7.3/10
Rank: 2nd (three total albums)
- Send Me To Hell
- Age Of Ignorance
- Reason To Love
- Liberate Me
- A Sun That Never Sets