Four Year Strong – Rise Or Die Trying


Album

Rise Or Die Trying

Label

I Surrender

Year

2007

For Fans Of

Taking Back Sunday – Scary Kids Scaring Kids – New Found Glory

Summary

All aboard the hype train…

Rating

89 / 100

Thanks to the success of bands
like New Found Glory and Fall Out Boy, pop punk has had
a major surge in commercial popularity over the last couple of years.
Kids have given their sisters back their make up kits, spent some time
in the sun and realized that pogo mosh parts are the best thing since
sliced bread. 

One band that is well and truly
poised to blow up is the Massachusetts based Four YearStrong.
With a dual vocal style reminiscent of Taking Back Sunday, chunky
riffs and a drummer who’s clearly spent some time working on his double
kick, this bearded five piece has found a way to blend the aggression
of their hardcore roots with their love of bouncy pop punk. 

Although it’s incredibly brief,
the introduction of “The Takeover” is a good indication of where Four Year Strong’s heads are at. Breakdown style guitar parts
provide a solid backdrop for the band’s always present gang vocals,
which takes us into the albums first real tune “Prepare To Be Digitally
Manipulated”, which has no doubt had many a pit moving in unison.
The subtle synth elements make FYS sound a lot less cheesy than
many of their peers and the appearance of former Bury Your Dead
vocalist Matt Bruso in the song’s mid section was a welcome
surprise. Seriously, when was the last time you heard three way harmonies
competing with a guest vocal who sounds that pissed off?! 

“Abandon Ship Or Abandon All
Hope” owes a lot to scene veterans NFG, however the squealing
guitars throughout the chorus and the all in vocal attack gives the
song a slightly harder edge. When a record is as consistent as Rise
Or Die Trying
it can make picking a stand out incredibly difficult,
but the driving drums and stop start guitars of “Heroes Get Remembered,
Legends Never Die” is the kind of song that most bands spend a career
trying to write. The vocal interaction between Dan and Alan
(both taking up guitar and vocal duty) flows effortlessly, making it
apparent that the high quality of both the band’s singers is what
makes them stand out in a scene flooded with less than talented musicians. 

The mid paced and less aggressive
“Wrecked Em, Damn Near Killed Em” is a radio hit waiting to happen
is bound to please the masses on this year’s edition of the VansWarped Tour. Although it starts with a series of discordant chords
“Men Are From Wars, Women Are From Hell” quickly works its way back
to the melody laced territory that Four Year Strong are so happy
to occupy… that is until a breakdown littered with impressive guitar
work comes out of nowhere to shake things up. 

The pop elements that flow through
“Bada Bing! Wit A Pipe!” put a glossy sheen on what could have otherwise
been one of Four Year Strong’s hardest songs, the same formula being applied to “Beatdown In The
Key Of Happy”. The last two songs (including my other favourite “Maniac
R.O.D.”) on the album draw from a slightly older punk template as
they employ a more straight forward approach to both the music and the
vocals, which isn’t to say that they’re any less impressive, it
just shows that FYS have a firm grasp on all aspects their chosen
genre.

Conclusion

Having recently signed to Decaydance
(Pete Wentz’s boutique label) you can expect to hear a lot
from Four Year Strong in 2008. Get in while you still can!

Tracklisting

  1. The Takeover
  2. Prepare To Be Digitally
    Manipulated
  3. Abandon Ship Or Abandon
    All Hope
  4. Heroes Get Remembered,
    Legends Never Die
  5. Wrecked ‘Em, Damn
    Near Killed ‘Em

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