When bands undergo a major personnel upheaval like Woe, Is Me did, it’s easy to understand why the quality of music would take a turn for the worse. Such is the case with Genesi[s], an album that faces an identity crisis much akin to the band’s struggles in settling on a lineup. Newcomer Hance Alligood shows that he can belt out clean vocals with the best of them, but his overly melodious and poppy choruses seem out of place at times considering Doriano Magliano’s first performance as Woe, Is Me’s unclean vocalist. With scratchy, gruff unclean vocals that are edgy at their best and hard to listen to at their worst, the breakdowns of Genesi[s] fail to capture the listener’s attention like Number[s] did. Slow, repetitive guitar-chugging and pounding drums that are sure to get the heaviest moshers’ heads bobbing fill the album, but seem forced unoriginal because of their lack of variety or skill. And when paired up with nearly bipolar, catchy choruses that could fit in on a pop punk album, Genesi[s] feels like it’s all over the map. It’s not the worst take on post-hardcore you’ll see this year, but this band is clearly struggling to find itself with so many personnel switches.
This happens frequently throughout the album, but in listening to “A Story To Tell,” you’d swear you were listening to A Day To Remember once you get past the epic trademark Woe, Is Me strings. With unrefined screams, shouted background vocals and a poppy chorus filled with melodic clean vocals, this song serves as the first true glimpse of what this new lineup can do. Alligood shines when he gets the chance to show off his voice, which is a hybrid eerily reminiscent of Ronnie Winter of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Kyle Pavone of We Came As Romans and Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens. Austin Thornton’s booming drums, Andrew Paiano and Kevin Hanson’s guitar and Brian Medley’s all attack the ears in precise and steady unison to serve as heavy breakdowns, making this a quality look at what to expect from this new lineup at their best.
However, the best song of the album is without a doubt “The Walking Dead,” which features a guest appearance from Memphis May Fire’s Matty Mullins. The brutal breakdowns and catchy choruses are all present, but what makes this song stand out are its attention to detail: subtle touches like the background sirens and dramatic strings give it an edge further enforced by the pleasingly aggressive lyrics: “So now it’s our turn to speak, you’ll have no choice but to hear us out / When we tell them about the truth and how you tried to sell us out / So just look out for yourself, it seems to be your pastime / So here’s your ticket to hell, it seems you missed it last time.”
Featuring the repetitive breakdowns of guitar-chugging and steady drumming that are most likely feeling overdone at this point, “I Came, I Saw, I Conquered” does have a few neat tricks to liven things up, including a very nifty little breakdown transition comprised of a gun cocking and firing (a la Memphis May Fire). The epic strings return and follow an overly light section of screaming, but this is one of the few sections where Magliano’s throaty bellows are not only bearable, but somewhat engaging.
This newest album has its bright spots, but they don’t quite make up for the large amount of mediocrity that fills the rest of the time. At times, it’s even hard to tell whether this is Woe, Is Me or a weak version of A Day To Remember or Close To Home . The breakdowns aren’t as intelligently brutal, the choruses aren’t as engaging and the clever additions of strings that created drama the first time around aren’t quite as captivating anymore. Genesi[s] largely settles for a lot of repetitive guitar chugging and extended but uninteresting breakdowns, making for a very average followup. And between the unenjoyable unclean vocals and frequent F-bombs dropped within mundane lyrics, the band really doesn’t deliver on the promise shown by Number[s]. With both the post-hardcore elements and the catchy choruses slacking in all respects, Woe, Is Me will have a long way to go in order to win back disappointed fans the next time around. Fans of Attack Attack!, A Day To Remember, Close To Home, Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, Blessthefall, We Came As Romans, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Sleeping With Sirens may find something to enjoy here, but should expect more from a band that can surely improve from here.
Final Score: 5/10
Rank: 2nd (two total albums)
- A Story To Tell
- With Our Friend[s] Behind Us (Feat. Caleb Shomo)
- Nothing Left To Lose
- The Walking Dead (Feat. Matty Mullins)
- I Came, I Saw, I Conquered
- Call It Like You See It
- I’ve Told You Once
- Family First
- Nothing Left To Lose (Acoustic)