Friday, October 14, 2016

Quick Hits: Green Day, Sum 41, Wovenwar

Green Day - Revolution Radio

After the monumental success of "American Idiot", it's been all downhill for Green Day. "21st Century Breakdown" was a desperate copy of their defining work, and then they put out three unfocused, worthless albums that watered down their name to the point where their absence hasn't even been noticed. But now they're back with an album that's back to basics, and the results are what you would expect from a band that hasn't made a simple album in a decade. There are a few good moments here, but ultimately Green Day doesn't have the pop hooks they once did. Whereas Green Day used to mix punk attitude and pop melodies, they're now more of a generic rock band, which doesn't wear well on them. Songs like "Bang Bang" do by without a catchy hook, and by the time the album gets to the end, there's a lack of real energy to carry us through. It's clear Green Day is trying to turn back time, but that's a fruitless process.

Sum 41 - 13 Voices

After nearly dying from alcoholism related issues, Derrick Whibley put the band back together for another go-round. I've never been much of a fan, but the singles being put out were interesting enough to get me to check out the album. The verdict is mixed. There is half of this album that is really fantastic. "Fake My Own Death" and "War" are great songs that are able to be catchy, heavy, and even emotionally resonant. They show a lot of growth in their songwriting from the old days, but it's short-lived. "There Will be Blood" is as annaying and banal a song as I've heard all year, and there are others here that feel like tracks written in haste because the deadline for the record was approaching and they didn't have enough material. It's annoying that there is so much promise in this comeback, both musical and person, but it's wasted on an album that can't carry it across the finish line.

Wovenwar - Honor Is Dead

Despite never hearing a note from As I Lay Dying, I liked the first Wovenwar album. It was a very good collection of modern rock/metal that balanced heaviness and melody well, and featured songwriting that was obviously inspired by the tumult that led to the band's creation. With album number two, they've taken a different turn. The album is darker, and more of the vocals are screamed. While it might be cathartic, ad could very well be what the fans want, it leaves me cold. The appeal of the music is lessened by having the lyrics yelled straight into my ears. The band's songwriting is obscured by the focus on being heavy and angry, which aren't appealing emotions to hear, unless you yourself are mired in them. What was good about Wovenwar is lost here, and this album is a big swing-and-miss.

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