It has to be said that I have a little bit of a soft spot for the likes of Three Days Grace, Thousand Foot Krutch, Sick Puppies, Nonpoint, and Skillet, so it is probably not a surprise that the debut album from US Christian hard rock band We As Human left a very satisfying and flavoursome taste in the ear. The Nashville quintet sit right amongst that group of artists, their sound and album offering nothing which is unheard from those comparisons and at times is an echo of their triumphs, but there is something ridiculously addictive and vibrant within We As Human which captivates and makes their first release one of the most enjoyable unoriginal treasures of the year.
It is apt that the last band in the above list of references is openly heard in the sound of the Texans as it was through Skillet frontman John Cooper that We As human was given their biggest breakthrough after the band’s road manager passed over their EP to the Tennessee group at one of their shows he was working. From Copper being enamoured enough by it to contact his band’s manager recommending he worked We As Humans, the band went on to join Skillet on tour alongside Papa Roach and Shinedown, as well as earning an introduction with Atlantic Records, who through Hear It Loud now release the album so we all can hear what the fuss is about.
Recorded with rock producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Skillet), the album leaps from the speakers with sinews and melodic guns ablaze on opener ‘Strike Back’. The first single from the release, it is one of many major pinnacles on the album all sandwiched between what are only appealing and infectious feasts of further accomplished yet familiar invention. The track instantly presses the ear with keen and forceful riffs from Jake Jones and Justin Forshaw, their ripe craft veined by excellent melodic enterprise and imagination. With the vocals of Justin Cordle outstanding and the rhythm department of the band powerful and verging on intimidating, the song is a pacesetter for and potent of what is to come.
The following ‘Dead Man’ steps forward with equal muscle and contagion, the stalking drum cracks of Adam Osborne skirted by the bass of Dave Draggoo rife with a predatory intent. The heart of the song is evocative and delivered lyrically and musically with an undeniable striking passion, this ensures that though overall songs might lack an element of surprise they stand heads above most other similarly sound lilted bands.
From the likes of the more reserved and tempting ‘Bring to Life’ and ‘Let Me Drown’, both with an agreeable Poets Of The Fall like potency, the band unleash another major highlight with ‘Zombie’ featuring Skillet’s Mr. Cooper. With a more than a slight Korn like entrance, the track erupts into a thunderous and ravenous fire of energy and aggressive glamour, hooks and rhythms ringleaders in enslaving the passions whilst vocals and acidic melodies raise the anthemic temperature through virulently addictive choruses. Best track on the album it alone suggests that We As Human is a real force in the making.
Unfairly given the task of following the previous tempest, tracks such as ‘We Fall Apart’ with its thrilling string arrangement and sound, the provocative ‘Take the Bullets Away’ with the wonderful tones of Flyleaf’s Lacey adding their caresses, and the emotionally intensive ‘Sever’ seize their chance to impress, even if they never quite match the heights set before them. The closing ‘I Stand’ has little trouble though, it another explosive riling with an antagonistic sound and eye to eye vocals which stand as a call to arms for the passions.
A release which sounds better and better with each and every listen, We As Human’s self-titled is a masterful pleasure. Yes it has very little new musically to say or invent but when it sounds this good I am not sure we should care.