How audiences and fans adopt bands and make them figureheads for a genre is bizarre. (It’s not the first, it’s never the last and it’s always a tricky game of “staying true to your roots” without selling out.) The world seems to have anointed We Came As Romans as the captains of their genre, making them their headliners, leading the melodic metalcore charge.
The band released their first full-length record in late 2009, and through the grind of the music business, they toured, released, re-released, promoted, covered Justin Timberlake on a Pop Goes… compilation and did everything they could with the support of their label, Equal Vision, to make them a success. Their hard work paid off, with To Plant a Seed eventually selling in the six figures.
They did nothing but rise from there, and, most likely thanks to the non-stop touring and pavement pounding, their second release, Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be, released to grand success, and in continuing their blue collar tour ethic, Tracing Back Roots has already charted in the single digits on Billboard. It’s clear they’re doing something right.
Quite literally, judging the music for music’s sake, the songs are incredibly well-produced (as they should be with the band’s stature), and the songwriting careens through enough metalcore to appease the moshers, enough singing to make the women swoon, and is peppered with enough softness to make it accessible without going full wuss on their fans.
The only minor hiccup is that there isn’t any innovation here. Groundbreaking? No. Enjoyable? Absolutely. Some of the melodies are sticky, and the album breeds a group mentality. But the tricky thing about listening to and judging We Came As Romans is that they’re the forebearers of their genre. How do you fault Adam Sandler for putting out another comedy, when the last five have made millions? Obviously, people enjoy the band’s music, and if it gets a (literal) million people going, they’re doing something right. As it’s only the third album in the band’s discography, it all but solidifies them as the figureheads for their world. I just hope the fourth album doesn’t get complacent.