Waking Giants marks Life in Your Way's jump from the farm leagues to the, well, the somewhat bigger indie league. This is their first effort for Solid State, home to many bands that seem to be ultra popular with the kids these days: Underoath, The Chariot, etc. So with the new label comes an increased opportunity for success; opportunity that the band should have no problem achieving with the content that comprises this album. However, one other question remains: "Is this for me?"
After repeated listens to Waking Giants, I can say that I enjoy nearly all of the music that comprises the album. There is a significant amount of bruising metalcore very much in the vein of Strongarm, or more recently Misery Signals. However, they also mix it up with some nice melodic and spacey moments, nothing too far to the left field, but enough to give the album some character and diversity. The problem with this album is that the vocals have me teetering on a seesaw. Vocalist Joshua Kellam has a outstanding scream - his delivery is forceful and often reminds me of Shai Hulud's Geert Van der Velde. Unfortunately he - with help from his fellow band members - often dabbles in "clean vocals." Some bands can throw these clean vocals into their songs and they sound pretty good, but other times they just sound very out of place, almost as though they are there only to make the music more accessible. To Life in Your Way's discredit, here it is the latter.
The album does have its shining moments - "Reach the End" and "We Don't Believe" are pretty spectacular. "Thread of Sincerity" is an excellent track for the first half until it runs off into a pseudo-sing-along of emo-core vocals. On the other side of things, "Making Waves" is so schizophrenic; it doesn't know if it wants to be a metalcore or a screamo song. And "Help! The Arm of the Almighty" feels completely out of place with its all clean vocal melodies - though I'm sure it'll show up in acoustic form on some compilation later this year.
Lyrically, Kellam leans in a religious direction for the vast majority of the songs. Some times the meanings are quite obvious, other times they are somewhat ambiguous. Even if you're not a religious individual, there are core ideas that you can take away from these lyrics and apply to your own life.
I'm really on the fence with Waking Giants. There are some parts that I totally dig and am stoked on. But then there are other portions that I can't bear to listen to ever again. If this band just did away with the clean parts and continued to write metalcore ala 90's-era Florida, I'd be in heaven. Oh well, at least I've still got my copy of The Advent of a Miracle.
5.5 / 10
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