Sunday, August 21, 2011

We Are the Fallen - Tear the World Down Album Review

I really thought that We Are the Fallen would have taken off a lot more than they have. They're definitely geared towards radio play and they use a formula that has succeeded for so many other bands (namely Evanescence), but I guess they just never completely caught on. Not that I'm truly disappointed by that, though, since I was pretty unimpressed by the lackluster effort put forth by We Are the Fallen, but it was odd to see the band fall flat and now with Evanescence returning, writing pretty much the same songs as We Are the Fallen, they're capturing listeners. Maybe it's just a name recognition thing... I'm not sure. Anyways, this was originally published back on June 30, 2010.

Knowing that this group was a female fronted band that had members of Evanescence, Living Sacrifice, and Soul Embraced, I definitely had a pre-conceived notion of what this album would sound like—a bit of a heavier version of Evanescence. This was true on a few songs, but for the most part this band essentially is Evanescence.

It is going to be impossible to get through this review without comparing We Are the Fallen’s lead vocalist, Carly Smithson, to Evanescence’s Amy Lee so let’s tackle that right now. Does Carly sound extremely similar to Amy? Yes. Are the two nearly interchangeable. Yes. Is Carly better than Amy? Sort of. Carly seems to have a bit of a fuller voice, but her range is extremely similar to Amy’s and you could easily have her sing any Evanescence song and think it was Amy belting out the vocals. The only moment where you get any real differentiation is on the ballad “Sleep Well, My Angel” where Carly is able to put on a performance style that differs from most of Amy’s work. Unfortunately, this leads to some major issues for both Carly and the band, most notably that We Are the Fallen and Carly do not have their own identity.

Ben Moody and the rest of the band lay down a very familiar base of radio friendly hard rock with some “metal” tinges here and there. Songs like “Burn” and “Through Hell” have some edgy guitar tones that make the band feel somewhat heavy, but the bulk of the tracks are crafted in such a way that the band doesn’t have to take any risks. Using the standard hard rock template and pushing Carly’s vocals to the forefront gives nearly every song a radio-rock appeal which, as you would guess, also means the album is quite boring and formulaic. The focus is definitely on Carly at all times, so the rest of the band doesn’t necessarily need to do much more than lay down a nice background for her, but by doing so the dynamics are just not that dynamic.

Since the female-fronted hard rock band formula has seemingly run its course, it’s interesting that We Are the Fallen are sticking so stringently to a formula that feels quite dated. Not only did Evanescence wear out this sound, but so too did Lacuna Coil, In This Moment, Flyleaf, and Within Temptation. Each of these bands, as well as We Are the Fallen, suffer from a case of not being able to break out of a formula that is worn out and no longer popular.

We Are the Fallen should see some radio airplay and will appeal to many mainstream rock listeners, but they’re doing absolutely nothing new and what they are doing is a decent rehash of a dated sound at best, a boring retread of unpopular ideas at worst. Even with low expectations, Tear the World Down will struggle to meet them, which is unfortunate considering that We Are the Fallen had an opportunity to shake things up and take risks, but they simply chose not to.

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