Have We Came As Romans ever been that good of a band? 2013’s ‘Tracing Back Roots’ was definitely the worthiest moment to have some inexplicable hype thrust upon them, but it’s self-titled follow-up only proved how much of a fluke that album was. It took their pop-leaning metalcore template over the top further than it could reasonably go.
So on ‘Cold Like War’, the Michigan sextet’s decision to double down on their heavier side is certainly welcome on paper, but even then, this is still underwhelming. The use of a dated electro-metalcore approach feels like a crutch and adds nothing of real worth. Although this is a relatively heavier effort compared to the band’s last couple of offerings, tracks like ‘Wasted Age’ or the harsh, stuttered electronics of ‘Encoder’, seldom pick up or does anything interesting with that heaviness. While the saccharine electro-ballad ‘Promise Me’ couldn’t feel more counterintuitive.
To We Came As Romans’ credit, ‘Cold Like War’ at least sees their well-known ear for melody put to good use, ultimately notching them up a few more much-needed wins. There’s a slickness to the likes of ‘Two Hands’ and ‘If There’s Nothing To See’ that works to the band’s advantage. And in the hands of a clean vocalist like Kyle Pavone, who does possess the sort of buttery, clear register to do them justice, they’re easy standouts here.
But to be perfectly honest, barely anything of ‘Cold Like War’ is likely to be remembered by this time next year. We Came As Romans are certainly trying, but good will only goes so far. It certainly doesn’t rectify an overaly limp, tired album like they’ve dropped here. It looks like that hype won’t be coming back anytime soon then, and this lot will continue to become another faceless cog in the metalcore machine.
‘Cold Like War’ by We Came As Romans is released on 20th October on SharpTone Records.
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Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)