For Fans Of
Stories fan #1 “Hey mate, you’re into that Sydney band, Stories, yeah?”
Stories fan #2 “Yeah, I am as a matter of fact. I happen to think they’re a pretty sick band. Um, why do you ask?”
#1 “Well, all I’ll say is that they’re new stuff is bloody shit. It sounds nothing like their Void EP or Dreamwork, both of which were so good, and now it’s barely heavy. They should have just changed their name if they were going to change up their sound that bloody much, Jesus Christ.”
#2 “Well you know, the name wasn’t all that important to begin with. Maybe they thought-
#1 “They were just so… so heavy! But now Morgan Dodson doesn’t even do those sick lows with his vocals anymore, and now he sings. Fucking sings! They’re like some Rise Records post-hardcore band now, and they’re not even playing in those lower tunings anymore. They’re on six-strings now, like what the fuck!? They had such a good thing going. Why would they ruin all of it now? That Will Putney guy probably fucked with their sound, aye? That’s not Stories, they’re like Underoath now, Christ.”
#2 “Hang on there a second, you don’t know what really happened when they were writ-
#1 “Like, they’re on Unified now so that’s probably why they wanted to change their sound, make it more accessible and commercial. Kinda like The Amity Affliction or In Hearts Wake’s sound, you know? Try and crack the ARIA charts with some big choruses and shit, maybe get on Triple J more. I really just don’t get it. Basically, all of the progressive elements are gone, and Void was SO good, but now we’ve got…this! They’re basically dead to me now…”
The above dialogue seems quite reflective of both sides of the fence when it comes to Stories’ new offering, ‘The Youth To Become‘. Acknowledging that it’s anticipated is recognizes that it’s equally polarising. If your listening habits focus on more narrow-minded approaches (much like our good friend, Stories fan #1 above), we’re here to tell you to take the goddamn blinkers off.
Change is a good thing. Some listeners may not like it, it may even be enough to permanently deter, but, with a little patience and optimism, it can really do a band justice. On debut album, ‘The Youth To Become’, the stronger melodic elements and raw tendencies give Stories a whole new identity. If they’d just been like A Day To Remember, Slayer, Coldplay or hell, The Story So Far, then they’d be making the same record over and over again, and they’d get very tired of it very quickly. Sure, there would be slight differences and it’d still probably kick ass, but things would get start to get monotonous.
Secondly, on this new record, Dodson shows that he’s got diverse vocal range that’s more than just massively low growls (his intermittent screams are still solid though). He stills projects them really well, kinda like he used to on Void. Thirdly, the band still retains that strong atmospheric vibe, they have stronger instrumentals now, ‘One-Hundred Percent Grey’ is a beautiful example of this. Plus, the production of the record is immensely solid too.
Equally, ‘The Youth To Become’ is far more dynamic than its predecessors, and it shows the band going in an interesting new direction, which has been relatively forgotten about because of the popularity of progressive metal and pop-punk. ‘Under Haze’, ‘Alone In The Fallout’, ‘Highwater’ – take your pic, they are all indicative of this newly chosen path. For those among you with heavier ears, well, thankfully, the band are still heavy too. The group hasn’t gone full poppy or anything like other acts just yet. ‘A False Sense Of Security’ is still quite heavy for this new sound. Look, if you’re still that hung up on Stories changing their sound, you have a perfectly good EP and one solid single to listen to, so don’t feel too hard done by them.
Accepting all of the above is also to acknowledge that some listeners will remain eternally stubborn and will still not embrace what is on offer here (remember Stories fan #1?). Just view this full-length with an open-mind, and if you still don’t like it, that’s cool, just don’t be such a whiny little shit about it.
Yes, ‘The Youth To Become’ really is quite different from Stories’ EP ‘Void’ and follow-up single, ‘Dreamwork’, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, not by any means. No, this is a different Stories, a confident and risk-taking band, who have not only changed their sound for the better, but who have also delivered a truly great record that bands twice their age would beg to have in their back catalogue. ‘The Youth To Become’ is the start of something truly grand for Stories.
1. State of Intermittence
2. A False Sense of Security
4. Alone In The Fallout
5. For A Second…I Couldn’t See A Thing
6. Shadow Window
7. The Golden Thread
9. Under Haze
10. Waves of Me
11. One-hundred Percent Grey