REVIEW: Woe, Is Me - American Dream

Genre: Metalcore/Post-Hardcore
Label: Rise
Date of Release: August 19, 2013


Even though a band can release a record that doesn't hold up, it is possible for a comeback with a sequel. An example of such band would be the famed Woe, Is Me. Established in 2009 from Atlanta, Georgia, this sextet was off to a strong start with their 2010 debut "Number[s]." However, "Genesi[s]," their sophomore effort released in 2012, was unfortunately less than impressive, being rather bland and lacking in color. Thankfully, though, "American Dream," a 5-track EP set loose in 2013, has demonstrated some great redemption for previous deficiencies.

The musicianship is quite solid in this album, and has improved its showmanship by a notch. The vocals, both screamed and clean, are very well performed per usual. The aggressive vocals demonstrate strong rage fitting for the music's sense of potency, while the clean singing utilizes as much energy for a nice, emotional, and impressive performance. The guitars have improved, being much less reliant on brutal chugs and a tad more on substance, complexity, and melody to leave a bigger impact on the audience. The drums have also seen a little upgrading, also being spiced up with some technicality while maintaining a very solid structure. On top of all this, the production, done by Cameron Mizell (Memphis May Fire, I See Stars), does the music some wonders with its heavy resonance and good atmosphere. The musicianship has been stepped up since the last release, and the mixing is as good as ever.

The first half of the EP is filled with the potent, melodic metalcore that longtime Woe, Is Me fans would be highly familiar with. It's nicely crafted, and, even though it doesn't reach completely stellar levels, it does prove to be another area of improvement. There is a great abundance of vitality and gripping moments to captivate the audience, and, while on the generic side, the music overall has a good sense of structure and dynamic. The balance between heaviness and melody is much more realized in this EP, making for a rather explosive listen. Although all three songs are well done, the greatest out of them would be the opener "Stand Up," as it is the catchiest for how wild and vibrant it is. All in all, the metalcore/post-hardcore tracks in this short album are quite solid.

The last two tracks of "American Dream" are acoustic songs. Overall, while not bad, they are sadly the lowest point of the record. To clarify, they are not poorly done, but they do sound like most other acoustic tracks out there, and there isn't much specialty to them. Aside from the clean singing showing off some of its prowess in this segment, there isn't all that much to it. As stated earlier, they aren't necessarily bad, but not much is being missed if the listener decides to skip out on them.

In regards to Woe, Is Me's preceding discography, "American Dream" is a solid step up. Even though "Number[s]" is still the best out of the band's collection, this album holds up anyways. Both the musicianship and the music itself have progressed very nicely, and it's clear that the band is evolving from the last record. As a follow-up to "Genesi[s]," this EP is a great improvement, and as a stand-alone release, it's a potent dose. Either way, post-hardcore, metalcore, and Woe, Is Me fans may want to give it a shot. "American Dream" is a prime example of a good comeback record.

Score: 7.5/10 (Solid+)