Over the past couple years the combination of Metalcore with Post-Hardcore influences has become amazingly popular. It’s almost become a sort of formula, get your band together, make sure most band members have tattoos and swoopy hair, give clean vocal duties to a guitarist or bassist, let the main vocalist be a screamer, and bam you’re suddenly all over 16 year old girls’ Tumblr accounts. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, the point still stands that this genre has become increasingly successful with its Amity Afflictions and We Came As Romans. The problem however with any popular genre is that after spending enough time in the limelight it can quickly become stagnant and oversaturated.
I’ll be blunt; I’m not super familiar with Our Last Night’s earlier work. I knew of them and had heard some of their stuff (Escape in particular was a cool song) but knew them mainly in passing and always regarded them as a band more or less following the above formula of Metalcore/Post-Hardcore music. So when their most recent release Age Of Ignorance started playing with its string section opening, clean/distorted vocal contrast, and chugging double bass and guitar riffs I felt particularly at home with it.
After the opening track Fate however, the album starts to shift direction and that’s where things start to go a little haywire. The next track, Send Me To Hell, removes all of the aspects mentioned above and instead starts sounding more like a Post-Hardcore/Alternative Rock band. This is the trend that the majority of the album follows with few exceptions, do not come into Age Of Ignorance expecting breakdowns and distorted vocals because they are few and far between.
The point behind the opening paragraph detailing the rise of the Metalcore/Post-Hardcore combination was to showcase that its very well possible we are on the edge of the genre becoming stagnant and bands wishing to do something different with their sound. Age Of Ignorance definitely sounds different compared to many of Our Last Night’s peers but not in a good way. If anything this style of Post-Hardcore and Rock makes Age Of Ignorance sound exceptionally bland and dated. Instead of looking to the future with the genre is sounds like it is instead backtracking to the sounds of Post-Hardcore in the mid to late 2000’s and it leaves the album with the overall feeling of sounding dated for the time.
Songs like Send Me To Hell and Reason To Love are played so safe and by-the-numbers that they don’t bring much to the table other than a sort of pop structure catchiness and tracks like Conspiracy legitimately sound like they didn’t make it to the final track listing of Saosin’s 2006 self-titled full length. It’s actually spooky how much Trevor Wentworth seems to be channeling his inner Cove Reber during Conspiracy, it’s like the band is trying their damndest to be Cove-era Saosin during those three minutes and 37 seconds.
Even the more Metalcore songs on the album, all three of them, are just hitting the median mark for the sound of the genre and where it’s come thus far. Special note does need to be given to the lead single Liberate Me as it stands as the song with the most amount of chops displayed, distorted vocals, and general intensity. However there are also a lot of problems surrounding the song. First off, as a lead single it totally gives the wrong impression of the album, Liberate Me is leaps and bounds harder than anything found on Age Of Ignorance and it could easily give off the wrong impression about what the album could be. Secondly, the song following Liberate Me on the album is Voices, which is easily one of the slowest songs with its acoustic guitar focus. This is problematic as Liberate Me is the best chance to grab the attention of the listener and Voices takes all that attention and does nothing but produce a snoozer that throws all that potential away.
The overall sense of the album is best described as dated. It holds its cards too close to its chest and takes no risks with its sound. This could easily garner commercial or radio success with some of the safer songs off the album but instead of going forward Age Of Ignorance has a distinct feel that it’s going backwards instead. There is some catchy tunes to get attached to here and there but the overall package feels underwhelming compared to where the genre stands now.
We are currently seeking Music contributors on WhatCulture. To find out more about the perks of being a Music contributor, click here.