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The pressure is on for A Day To Remember with the sixth album into their career. They've met a lot of positivity as well as some mixed-reviews throughout the years, and it seems like everything has led up to their newest record, Bad Vibrations. Good on them, though, as it does not disappoint.
First and foremost, this album has some banging riffs. The first track, the eponymous 'Bad Vibrations', starts off a bit too edgy with some pretty wretched screaming, but makes up for it later on with blistering guitars and a belligerent ending. The main problem in this track is the mastering; it feels like it could have just a little more punch to it. The problem resolves itself in the next track 'Paranoia', the verses of which harken to Nine Inch Nails' 'March Of The Pigs'. The lead into the chorus seems to explode quickly then immediately returning to the appropriate mixing - I'm not sure if this is a mixing problem or a artistic choice, but it doesn't resonate right. Luckily, the song has enough punch to it to carry it through. The ending of 'Exposed' is massive and unpredictable - it explodes out of nowhere and takes the track from being an okay one to a huge one. The same is true in the following track 'Bullfight' - cool verses followed by an explosive ending. 'Reassemble' is big in a different way, the atmospheric intro leading into evil sounding riffs that resolves into a sweet, retrospective acoustic ending.
The other half of the record is composed of ballads and songs not riff-oriented. The first of these tracks is 'Naivety', and it doesn't offer up anything too special. It sounds like a standard alternative rock ballad from the 2000s. The ending where Jeremy McKinnon sings, "What I hate about getting older / Where's my naivety," is a pretty weak and even annoying way of ending the song. 'Justified' suffers in almost the reverse way; instead of having one really bad part and the rest being standard song, it starts incredibly promising with a unique start not yet heard on the record and just becomes another standard song for the rest of its play time. If they had kept the mood of the beginning going throughout the song, it could've been a lot better. 'Same About You' is a rockier track without any big riffs, and instead highlights the melodies - the vocals on this track are phenomenal.
The last song on the record is the orchestral 'Forgive and Forget', the most sentimental and powerful track on the album. The first half of the track consists of McKinnon's clean and somber vocals, rolling drums, light guitar, and a beautiful orchestra. The song buildups, the second verse adding a more prominent guitar lead before the song bursts into a big dramatic ballad ending without sacrificing the momentum or the mood of the track.
My main gripe with the record is that a lot of it sounds the same, or works in the same manner. They go for big explosive endings in the heavier tracks while they rely on the mood of the tracks in the softer ones to carry them through. The heavier tracks are awesome and fun, but they really don't hit much ground until they hit it big with their endings. The softer tracks all have that same vibe, as well (barring 'Forgive and Forget' - that one's perfect, and it becomes stale and repetitive after awhile. I'm thankful that they're all separated at least a little bit - most albums would bunch all of these similar sounding tracks together and that would make it all the more boring. There's also an immature or sometimes non-existent regard the band gives in some tracks; 'We Got This' (though the buildup and piano are nice) and 'Turn Off The Radio' are examples. The latter of the two has a silly sentiment on top of things, but the actual music gives it some credibility.
A Day To Remember may not be a perfect album for the band, but it's a solid one all the same. It has a lot of powerful tracks with big riffs as well as soaring melodies. However, on the same side, many tracks leave a lot left to be desired. It has its highs and lows, but Bad Vibrations has good intentions at its core. It needs variation is all. Hopefully the next album takes that into account.
Favorite Tracks: Forgive and Forget, Exposed, Same About You
Least Favorite Tracks: Naivety, We Got This