January 17, 2012 - Rise
This review originally ran in AP 283.
This Means War finds electro-plated-metalcore team Attack Attack! focused on maintaining six-stringed girth instead of shoehorning awkward samples into their crunchy mix. “The Family” is a headbanger support group, while “The Reality” will appeal to dudes in faded Queens Of The Stone Age shirts trying to pick up chicks at a Skrillex show. Yeah, there are moments when frontman Caleb Shomo breaks into clean singing and some digital-synthesizer flourishes that seem lifted from the Cab’s hard drive. But he gets away with it, notably on the double-time “The Betrayal” and “The Confrontation,” where squealing guitar harmonics and hints of dubstep wobbles heighten the urgency. This Means War exhibits admirable growth, but if Attack Attack! radically purged themselves of all their pop predilections in favor of more savage riffage and chattering electronics, they’d set the bar so high, they’d be touring with the Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge’s Kurt Ballou would wear their shirts onstage. To paraphrase a Chinese philosopher, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single ugly, detuned riff.