Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Waiting for a Miracle - Self Titled CD Review

Waiting for a Miracle are an emo band at heart. The heartfelt vocals bring to mind many late 90’s emo bands. The song structures follow the well established emo template. The angsty lyrics fit in perfectly with the appropriate amount of whining and pining. So what keeps Waiting for a Miracle from being a complete cookie-cutter copy of a copy? Well, I don’t really know…

For all intents and purposes, these guys should be a decidedly average band in a horribly outplayed genre that fell from its glory days a few years ago, yet you’ll find them infectious and endearing, much like a lost dog you can’t help but enjoy spending time, with no matter how normal and blasé the beast is. There are little things that break from the mold, such as the occasional double bass roll, intricate guitar passage, or breakdown, but those moments don’t so much set the band apart as much as they remind you of other bands, albeit with small changes to their staple sounds.

For an emo band, oddly, you'll find there are some decidedly metalcore elements to the band. As mentioned before, there are a few pseudo-breakdowns thrown in throughout the record, but they are the tamest breakdowns I have ever heard, not because they are bad, but because of the way they are employed. Instead of bringing them to the forefront of the mix, they are pushed into the back and used as accentuating elements for the lead guitar and vocals. You have to give credit to Ken Susi of Unearth for having enough restraint to keep the breakdowns and heavy guitar elements in the background because this band could have easily been turned into a terrible metalcore band without too much trouble, which is the absolute last thing anyone needs right now.

They didn’t end up being a terrible metalcore band, thankfully, but instead turned out to be a metalcore influenced emo band. It’s very interesting to see the different metalcore staples being used in a totally different way to spice up some pretty standard emo tracks. For example, listen to some of the guitar sweeps in “They Call Me ‘One Time’” and notice how easily they could be used in a metal track. Or how about the breakdowns and bass drum progression on “End this Tonight”? Crank those elements up a little and you’d have kids hardcore dancing in seconds.

I know it’s not something many people might think about, but if you ever did wonder what Jimmy Eat World or The Receiving End of Sirens might sound like if they grew up on metalcore, Waiting for a Miracle will clear things up. It’s great to hear a band using heavy elements with enough restraint to keep them from being just another boring bandwagon jumper.

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