Story of the Year’s ‘The Black Swan’ opens with the legendary ‘Choose Your Fate’, which’ is aptly Atreyu inspired. With resinous growls protruding from the bass depths of the diaphragm, it’s acrid and insidious – just how we like it! It’s an angry juncture met with a more melodic screamo bridge bunged in for good measure. The guitar thrashes are pleasantly ruthless and boisterous. ‘Wake Up’ is rip roaring, a force to be reckoned with, lead guitars are suitably loud and aggressive. The guitar instrumental is air guitar friendly. Fuck, I love this album!
I have to admit it’s been a few years since Story of the Year was last visited. I’m not sure there’s an adequate reason why this is the case. But as we scroll onto the third track ‘The Antidote’, they are doing something very right indeed. A pounding, fast electric guitar interlude steals the show, putting old skool 80s metallers forcibly into the shade. ‘Tell Me’ notches it down a belt loop, before the intense deep thrusts of the drums pound into your stratosphere. The guitar rifts could be stolen from System of a Down’s back catalogue, so fierce, so fighting. ‘Angel in the Swamp’ takes the melodic stream south, playing it safe like, before belting into a pop punk anomaly, then plunging back into SOAT guitar thrusts and finishing with some QOTSA non-diagetic guitars hovering in the back mist.
Unfortunately, it slumps in the middle like its run out of some steam somewhat. On ‘Apathy is a Deathwish’, it plunges its head straight back into the deep end with a salacious slither of adequately angry guitars. We’re Not Gonna Make It’ is suitably FFAF but kicks the shit out of a lot of their work. Similarly ‘Terrified’ is very low fi and sweet, evoking FFAF (think ‘History’).
Story of the Year have enlisted the help of producers John Feldmann and “Elvis” Baskette those, unsurprisingly, responsible for bringing to life the works of Atryeu, Lost Prophets, The Used and Escape the Fate; you can tell this from the record, it’s rock in all the right ways; mixing the melodic with the brash. There’s enough pop rock lingering to suit those less than impressed by Atreyu sounding noisy guitars and thrusty, throaty, visceral vocals.
Can you imagine taking all the bits of your exes that you like and combining them to make one hunk of a man? That’s pretty much what you get from this CD. You might have to wake 'The Black Swan' up in the middle (of the night), and stop it making those shitty interludes (yes ‘Pale Blue Dot’), but fuck me! You should get yourself some of this! I’m going home with the Black Swan tonight, and it’ll be lucky to see the light of day, once I’m done with it! Bring it!