Over the recent years, there have been instances where it only takes one record for a metal or hardcore band to receive a ton of recognition. These bands include Chelsea Grin
, The HAARP Machine
, and, in this case, Woe, Is Me
. This septet rose in 2009 from Atlanta, Georgia, from the ashes of post-hardcore powerhouse Of Machines
. In 2010, they released their first full-length record “Number[s],” which, as stated earlier, cooked up a large fanbase by itself. It truly was a stellar electronic post-hardcore debut that started the band’s path down the road on a very strong foot. After the release, however, Woe, Is Me
underwent plenty of lineup changes, including the departure of vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn, in exchange for Doriano Magliano of That
’s Outrageous and Hance Alligood. After two long years, the band has finally returned in 2012
with their sophomore effort entitled “Genesi[s].” Fans have been really looking forward to this follow-up to the band’s great debut, but was the wait truly worth it?
First off, the musicianship is not that well showcased in “Genesi[s],” aside from the vocals. The clean singing demonstrates the same great boldness and range as the single “Vengeance
,” and the screamed vocals let loose some nice angry energy without forcing it, and they’re quite well done. Aside from that, though, pretty much everything else about the musicianship seems very underwhelming, especially compared to “Number[s].” The guitars almost never take a rest from the constant chugging, which is rather catchy at first. However, by the time the listener dives just a few minutes into the album, it all becomes dull, tedious, and almost brainless. Also, the drums do not have the same powerful balance between simplicity and technicality as they did in the previous album. Instead, they mostly consist of steady drum beats that have so much lack in customization that they’re almost like the guitarwork; they’re dull and just too one-dimensional for its own good. If that wasn’t enough, even the synthesizer and electronic effects do not deliver that much notable appeal. The way they were used in “Number[s]” was very well played out, delivering unforgettable melodies while underlining the dramatic atmosphere of the music itself. Sadly, in “Genesi[s],” the only things they consist of are orchestral segments that sometimes sound thrown in, or those atmospheric sounds in the background. In other words, like the guitarwork and the drumming, the electronics could have been much better. Overall, while the vocals are very decent, the other aspects of the musicianship did not fare so well with this album.
Secondly, the whole formula of this album is sadly bland for the most part. It mostly just consists of the guitar chugs and dull drums that grow lazy as you are running through the album, with the symphonic and electronic sound effects feeling crammed in there. It’s not flat-out abysmal, and it is rather catchy during the first spin. However, after that, it can be easily realized that the music is almost flat and uninteresting. Although the vocals do carry some weight, the instrumentals are very lacking in energy, substance, and seem to drag on much. On the contrary, however, there are a few moments where some good melody comes in in the midst of the mess, and it does give the music a little gleam of dynamicity, but even that is not enough to make “Genesi[s]” a very enjoyable release. The only fully enjoyable track is the song “Family First,” which, fortunately, is a very good song to begin with. It serves as a great anthem track that delivers great symphonic effects, vibrancy, and a very positive aura behind it. So thankfully, it does help in not making “Genesi[s]” an absolute flop, although the album still does not deliver much aside from that. To the music’s credit, things do flow well together, the vocals are great, and “Family First” is a pretty decent track. Unfortunately, those are really the only remarkably good things that can be noted about this album. Other than that, the repetitive breakdowns, generic choruses, and dull instrumentation do not help in making this record very likeable. Especially compared to the band’s last effort, this album came very close to being completely boring and not worth many people’s attention.
Considering how great the band’s debut “Number[s]” sounded, “Genesi[s]” proved to be a major letdown. Although it holds a few redeeming qualities, it only comes across as a lackluster electronic metalcore record that only specializes in breakdowns and choruses. Whereas Woe, Is Me
’s previous release demonstrated weaving together powerful vocals, bold instrumentation, and awesome use of synthesizer effects into one potent work, “Genesi[s]” starves of inspiration, energy, and most importantly, progression from its predecessor. It’s a blank canvas that could have been painted on to create a much more colorful and memorable piece to behold. Instead, the end result is a seemingly uninspired and dull album that proved that the band focused far too much on being heavy for the sake of being heavy, and pretty much anyone uninterested in the metalcore scene certainly won’t be impressed. Once
again, “Family First” is the one song that breaks this tragic mold, and those looking for an epic anthem track to sing along to will want to give it a shot. Some newcomers to the electronic metalcore and post-hardcore genre may take pleasure in making their first steps here, but it is highly recommended they check elsewhere. It is unfortunately safe to say that Woe, Is Me
has officially released one of the most disappointing records of 2012