ATTACK ATTACK! – THIS MEANS WAR
Released 16th January 2012 (Rise Records)
Words: Gaz Martinez
As a metalhead, I have always been a fan of a strategically placed breakdown or two (or six), and Attack Attack!, While may not be masters of the art, do well enough on their latest album, This Means War to place breakdowns aplenty to get everyone in the crowd moving up and down like crabs.
The synths, which seem to be a staple in the band’s sound, return for this third effort. Alas, amidst the screaming/breakdowns/crabcore, on this album they see relatively little action outside the choruses and as a result, it never feels like they are used extensively enough to be considered more than a gimmick that quickly becomes predictable. That said, they do add a nice quality to songs like The Betrayal and The Reality.
Variation in the general riffing wouldn’t go amiss either, after listening to the album the whole way through, several times, most tracks flow seamlessly into the next, to the point where a fair amount of the songs, as separate entities, begin to lose that individuality that they each need to make a solid album. It feels as if I could easily cut one song riff out of The Reality and paste it into The Revolution.
It is only when we get halfway through This Means War are we treated to some variation with The Motivation, which treats you to a gentle piano intro, but even with a longer, more melodic chorus, and The Wretched which places a much needed emphasis on synths, these two are by far the highlights of this album. The album definitely picks up half-way, The Confrontation even offers us what sounds like small bites of dubstep which does wonders to mix it up a bit. But for a first time listener, the CD may have already been taken out of the player and swapped for something else, you are rewarded for listening to the whole thing, but the first half of this album makes it a tedious slog to get there.
If you’re looking for a solid slice of bog standard metalcore, then This Means War offers plenty of stock material to bounce to, but not much that kicks you in the proverbial nuts. For a fourth album, variation in structure and tempo should be a number one priority; otherwise a follow up to this album may be their last as Attack Attack! Continue a streak of mediocrity that This Means War may have started.