We Came As Romans talked with us at the Rock’n Derby festival in New York about how they beat Memphis May Fire in a burrito eating contest, what they’d do differently on their next record, and how Kyle Pavone creates his own made-up words and imaginary god to worship pre-show.
First off, for a band whose music is so heavy and full of rage, the dudes in Miss May I are some of the nicest guys we’ve ever interviewed. So we treated them to a five star experience by cornering them in a stable next to a hay bail and asking them why they weren’t invited to the WCAR vs Memphis May Fire eating contest. Both MMI and For Today were left out of the event, so we’re thinking a round two is in order. And for the record, Levi Benton is definitely down.
GRAMERCY, NYC – The Road to Bands VS. Food Tour may have been an odd tour title, but named an unforgettable night (April 23rd). Featuring the bands Sworn In, Wilson, Miss May I and We Came as Romans, the line-up was diverse, but oh so satisfying. Starting with Sworn In definitely got the room going wild, especially the crowd killers. Tyler Dennen (Vocalist) fueled the audience as everyone raised their fists and yelled the lyrics with him. When the song “Sunshine” kicked in it got real. Coming down into the crowd, Tyler became surrounded as he continued to scream out the words along with everyone else. It was an epic moment and a great turnout since Sworn In’s previous New York shows were filled with technical issues and illnesses. Luckily their curse was broken and they were able to put on a sick opening to the night.
The fourth full-length record from the Michigan group We Came As Romans hits almost all the right notes. The band’s self-titled touches on some of the major themes of life: identity crises, falling in and out of love, and the ever-changing nature of the world as a whole. Some pretty heavy stuff, but We Came As Romans have never shied from heavy topics.
Musically the album showcases a broad range of styles. There is, of course, the traditional hardcore screaming over thumping guitar riffs and pounding drum beats. But they also incorporate pop punk elements, repetitive choruses and a strong electronic tone that hums throughout the album. It’s a range that works well.
In “Flatline,” the opening verse gets crooned out with a whiny Tom Delonge-inspired voice, hitting a pop punk high note that carries throughout the album. The song “Who Will Pray” juxtaposes a deep life question (“If I fall too far, disappear in the dark/ Who will pray for me tomorrow?”) with some computer licks that could feel just as at home in an Imagine Dragons song. “Defiance” also starts with electronic strumming, seeming particularly influenced by early-2000s Linkin Park. But We Came As Romans’ use of metaphors sets them apart. In the second verse of “Defiance” they sing, “Ready to contend, ready to withstand/ Open up these walls built to keep you out/ Nothing you say can make me give up/ I’m persistent like a river cuts through a rock.”
While WCAR pepper the album with electronic beats and synthetic sounds, it never becomes too much. The self-titled’s electronic undertone helps keep a continuous theme as the songs jump from semi-ballads like “Memories” to full on hardcore affairs like “Regenerate.” It works as a unifying theme and helps make the album cohesive, even though they pull from all corners of the rock world for each song. It’s a solid album, and a great addition to We Came As Romans’ discography as a whole, but not the second coming of the rock gods.
by Maria Spiridigliozzi
We Came As Romans premiered their new single “Tear It Down” on Billboard yesterday, and it turns out there is a long and turbulent story behind it and the rest of the new album. In the accompanying interview, vocalist Dave Stephens recounts how the band’s producer for this record, David Bendeth (Breaking Benjamin, Paramore, Papa Roach), tore their initial ideas to pieces. The result is a sound that blends metalcore with nu metal and gives extra attention to Stephens’ melodic vocals; a role for which he spent a lot of time preparing. Of his new vocal coach, Stephens says:
She made me do things like get on my knees and sing with my entire back and butt and feet against the wall and show me all kinds of strange things to show me how to sing properly — not to mention practicing two to three hours a day. But it worked; my range improved, my tone improved.
WCAR have also switched up their writing style in terms of lyricism for their upcoming self-titled work. “Tear It Down” represents a new phase in which the band isn’t afraid to shy away from their stubbornly positive words of the past:
We used to think we had to write positively about change; on this record we realized that to point out something negative or that we don’t like or makes you angry doesn’t mean positive change can’t happen.
Check out the rest of the Billboard interview here and go ahead and put “Tear It Down” on repeat. Trust us.
While you’re waiting for We Came As Romans to release their self-titled album on July 24th, hold yourself over with the music video for their single “Regenerate.” Continuing with their signature optimism, this pit-maker is all about coming together to create a better future. Battle cries from vocalists Dave Stephens and Kyle Pavone echo from the middle of a vast circle pit: “This is our time to restore the faith/ Regenerate, we will be the change.” And hey, if that isn’t enough to inspire you, stay tuned for the end to watch them take baseball bats to a car. Everyone needs a little catharsis now and then, and the fans in this video sure seem to be enjoying it.