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Album Review: We Came As Romans – "Understanding What We've Grown To Be"

We Came As Romans‘ (WCAR) sophomore album, Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be, has been re-released for 2013 in a deluxe edition with three additional tracks.

Thematically, the album offers a comprehensive meditation on the challenges and struggles we encounter as we grow older, and the maturity that we gain from life’s calamities. Yet, the band retains the positive sense of camaraderie so familiar from their first album, To Plant A Seed. Among all of the bands within the metalcore scene, WCAR has defined themselves by creating a unique sonic niche, utilizing slightly altered metalcore characteristics, synthesizers, and clean, auto-tuned vocals.

Driving, syncopated patterns create a groove familiar to metalcore. However, lead guitarist Joshua Moore provides melodic phrases that flow over the groove and help create a distinct sound. Additionally, clean vocalist Kyle Pavone and screamer David Stephens compliment each other and deliver well-articulated lyrics. The high production value on the album helps to blend all of the elements together, though it also seems to cover up the main criticism the band consistently receives – Pavone’s lack of delivery during live performances. But his vocals work well here; the slight auto-tune and a generous amount of reverb create a nice change from Stephens’ screaming. Combined with arrangement elements such as breakdowns, melodic passages, lulls featuring synthesized groove patterns, and tempo changes, the music and vocals seem to mesh effortlessly.

In a well-executed display by a band that can distinguish itself from the rest of the ever-growing metalcore scene, Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be conquers the sophomore album jinx. While I wouldn’t say that it is better than their debut release, I will say that We Came As Romans have been able to produce a solid album that is not a carbon copy of their first.

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New Releases: January 15, 2013

Winter blues got you down? Did you forget it’s a Tuesday? That means new tunes to spin, and there’s nothing better than that. Check out these fantastic new albums that range from indie rock to hip-hop and metalcore.

Free EnergyLove Sign


Philadelphia’s Free Energy are back with the most recent installment of their impossibly catchy blend of classic rock, power pop, and modern indie rock. There may be no other album that makes you feel as happy this January. Pick this one up and have a bedroom dance party.

A$AP RockyLong.Live.A$AP


After interminable pushbacks that moved Rocky’s debut studio album back from July to October and then into the new year, the New York rapper has finally fully delivered on the promise of his Live.Love.A$AP mixtape and made a beast of an album. In addition to showcasing Rocky’s lyrical skill, the record also boasts an all-star parade of features including Skrillex and Santigold.

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Q and A: Hatebreed Talk Purpose, Pop, And The Pit

Hatebreed bring it hard, fast, and heavy with no excuses and no apologies. It’s a formula that’s built up an incredibly devoted worldwide fan base, which in turn has propelled the Connecticut outfit to the top of the metalcore heap. We caught up with frontman Jamey Jasta to chat about the band’s new album The Divinity of Purpose, the production process, and CNN’s erroneous categorization of the band this past summer that had fans up in arms.

OS: What does the title The Divinity of Purpose mean to the band?

Jamey Jasta: We just want to spark a new thought. It’s open to the listener and probably means something different to everyone in the band. Music and my family have been my purpose for a long time. I’ve had other purposes in life, but finding music and having my daughter were definitely divine experiences for me. So for me, finding a purpose is a major thing in life and I want this album to spark something in the listeners’ minds. (more…)

Greg's Top 5 Most Anticipated Albums Of 2013

We’re saying farewell to our co-op Greg, who was a lifesaver for us here at OurStage, as he picked up tasks ranging from Community to Account Management, to Editorial. If you’re a frequent reader of Plugged In, you’ve no doubt read his work. We asked Greg to list some of his music picks for 2013:

Last week, we recapped our favorite releases from the past year. Now, as we bid 2012 adieu, we welcome 2013 and all of the awesomeness it has in store. While there are so many great releases to look forward to, coming up with this list couldn’t have been easier for me. Most of these records are still in the early stages of post-production, but I say it’s never too early to get excited. So here are my top 5 most anticipated albums of 2013 (in no particular order):

City and Colour – (Title TBA)
2011’s Little Hell really put Canadian rock star Dallas Green on the mainstream map. His 3rd full-length solo album was his most powerful yet. Now, after leaving Alexisonfire, his band of 10 years, to focus full time on City and Colour, we can only imagine that the sky is the limit for this talented singer-songwriter. Green wrapped up recording for the fourth album this past November and expects to release it sometime early-mid 2013.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – (Title TBA)
Dillinger are one of those legendary bands who go years without releasing a new album, but then when they do, you realize the wait was worth it. 2010’s Option Paralysis was possibly the most eclectic and eccentric installment by the brutal math-core wizards. With recording for their fifth full-length in the bag, fans are primed for the release this Spring.

Bad Rabbits – (Titles TBA)
In 2009, these Boston locals burst onto the scene with their groundbreaking debut EP Stick Up Kids, 7 songs of non-stop head banging funk soul party pop. On that release alone, they’ve had outstanding momentum, including their run on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour. However, as infectious as those songs are, three years is too long to go without giving fans more. Luckily, Bad Rabbits have a whole arsenal of finished recordings just waiting to be released via shotgun blast in 2013. Get ready for two more EPs, along with videos, limited edition merch, new live dates, and more.

Queens Of The Stone Age – (Title TBA)
The most anticipated rock album of 2013 may be the new Queens Of The Stone Age record. Not only has it been over five years since Josh Homme‘s last release with the project, but now, among all of the rotating members that have played in the band, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl has returned on drums along with Nick Oliveri on bass. As two of the quintessential members of QOTSA’s breakthrough album Songs For The Deaf, they helped define the band as many fans know it today. Now that they’re back on board and finished recording, we can only imagine the sheer magnitude of this next album, due out early this year.

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OurStage’s Staff Favorites From 2012
OurStage’s End Of The World Playlist; Songs For The Apocalypse

Scenesters Channel Their Inner Divas On 'Punk Goes Pop 5'

It’s that time of the year again: when people take words that others have said and twist them around to fit their own individual message. And no, we don’t mean election season; it’s time for another volume of Punk Goes Pop! In the fifth installment of the popular decade-old Fearless Records compilation, we get a mix of tunes from ’80s classics to contemporary chart-toppers. Here are five of our favorites from the upcoming November 6 release. (more…)

New Parkway Drive Song – "Old Ghost / New Regrets"

Metalcore heavyweights Parkway Drive have released another song off their upcoming album Atlas. The track “Old Ghost / New Regrets” is another offering of heavy riffs and breakdowns, with lyrics that continue the recent worldview direction the band has taken for the new release. In their previous single and music video, “Darker Days,” the band confronted the issue of global warming. They seem to following that same concept here, but with more frustration and defeatism, bookending the song with the lyrics, “Forever fucked.” Atlas will be released on October 30th by Epitaph Records.

If you like Parkway Drive, then you might also like OurStage’s own Amia Venera Landscape.

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Converge Streaming New Album

After months of defending their new album from leaking to the public, hardcore legends Converge have decided to stream All We love We Leave Behind as a video. The listening experience is accompanied by slowly moving images of vocalist Jacob Bannon‘s vivid and colorful artwork for the release, which changes with each song. The album will be out on Tuesday, October 9th under Epitaph Records and is sure to take the hardcore world by storm.

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Parkway Drive – New Album, New Video

Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive have a new album coming out on October 30th called Atlas. Released by Epitaph Records, it will be the band’s fourth full-length studio album. This time around, they’re laying it all on the line and confronting some of the world’s most trying issues, such as global warming, as can be seen in their video for “Darker Days,” which features footage of pollution and other manmade destruction to accompany vocalist Winston McCall‘s enraged lyrics (“With narrow minds we decimate our one true home”). The metal heavyweights are sure to be dropping the world on our shoulders with the release of Atlas. Click here for pre-orders, and check out the video for their new single “Darker Days” below.

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Exclusive Q and A: Vanna Talks Family, Friends, and Monsoons

It’s time to get out of this town. It’s haunting, this presence. If the verse lyrics from post-hardcore band Vanna‘s Safe To Say ever referred to their hometown of Boston, Mass., we’d never guess it now. After kicking off 2012 with tours through Europe and the U.S. from February to April, then almost immediately turning around and jumping on the Warped Tour, Vanna front man Davey Muise and guitarist Joel Pastuszak told us about how great it was to be home at the Warped Tour stop in Mansfield, Mass. Apart from touring, in the last six months Vanna have picked up new members Pastuszak and Erik Gross, and have begun working on a fourth LP after releasing their third full-length album, And They Came Baring Bones in 2011. Muise and Pastuszak talked to us about friends, family, and tour craziness over the last few months.

OS: You guys are playing back in your hometown, that’s got to be great. What’s it like to be back?

DM: It’s awesome to be back, all of our families are here and you know, we’re just looking forward to our New England date to prove to the rest of the tour that we are a ˜worth it’ band [laughs].

OS: You haven’t played with Four Year Strong in a long time, how does it feel to be touring with some hometown friends again?

DM: It’s cool, it’s cool ˜cause like Four Year [Strong], Transit, A Loss For Words, Man Overboard, Make Do, and Mend (even though they’re kind of from Jersey), it’s a lot of New England bands on this tour and it just feels really really good to tour with bands from New England; slash I apologize to everyone who’s not from New England on this tour because we can get pretty rowdy and obnoxious. It’s cool; it’s definitely cool to have everybody out. Four Year’s killing it, A Loss For Words is killing it, all the New England bands are doing so well, I’m just proud of my friends.

JP: We pretty much just took over the whole tour.

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Exclusive Q and A: Transit Talk Boston Band Scene & Their First Warped Experience

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsAfter building up a sizable fanbase through several years of steadily touring and releasing numerous albums, Boston-based Transit finally scored a spot on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. It’s rare for first-time bands to play at every stop on the tour, but Transit are no strangers to the road. After Warped is over, they’ll be heading off to Australia, and then casually jaunting over to the U.K. for a string of October dates. We caught up with guitarist Tim Landers at their Mansfield, Mass. Warped Tour stop to chat about the band’s New England roots, influences, and what it was like to grow up as a pop-punk kid in a metalcore world.

OS: It’s the first time on Warped Tour for you guys. How has it been? Have there been particular stops that have stood out so far?

TL: It’s been awesome. Our reception has been better than we could have imagined or hoped for, especially given that we’re doing two sets a day. We get to play as many songs as we really want to. We can do some acoustic, some electric, and change it up. That’s been really cool. All of the shows have been great, but a lot of the California ones have stood out. We just didn’t expect the reactions here to be as good as they were. Playing California’s always a good time, but these were great.

OS: And is there any extra excitement about the Mansfield date, as it’s kind of a hometown show for you guys?

TL: It’s so good to be back. It’s funny, because we don’t even get to go back to our houses or anything, but just being in Massachusetts feels good and it’s great to see friends and family. Where you’re from is the best place to play, obviously. We haven’t played our main set yet today, but our acoustic set was the best of the tour, so I just can’t wait.

OS: Like you guys, OurStage is a Boston-based operation. Could you talk about your experience starting out as a band around here?

TL: I could go on for days. I mean, when I started going to shows it was all metalcore bands. They all sounded like Poison The Well, and stuff like that. There was just so much of it. I remember when I first started playing a decent amount of shows, it was me and our drummer Daniel. We played in a pop-punk band, but when we played a lot of shows around the area we’d always be playing with metalcore bands and hardcore bands, which was cool. It was just what we grew up on. And then I think we all just got really frustrated because every band and every show was exactly the same and they were all trying to do the same thing. The reason why we started Transit was to do something that was different. We all loved bands like Saves The Day and Braid, and we wanted to apply their style to the band that we started. But the music scene in Boston is always changing, and it’s never the same thing. It went through this very hardcore phase, and now there aren’t even many hardcore bands in Boston.  (more…)