Since the release of their full length debut To Plant a Seed in 2009, Troy, Michigan’s We Came as Romans have consistently been one of the top bands in metalcore. Their music was always pretty straightforward; guttural vocals for the verses, breakdowns, clean vocals on the choruses and lyrics about overcoming hardship. It’s a simple, cliché formula that took them far. Then in 2015 they decided to pursue a more radio-friendly sound on their self-titled album. Their long-time fans turned on it hard; it got panned critically and flopped commercially. Fast forward two years, and the Troy boys are back with a new record label and a lot to prove.
Right off the bat “Vultures with Clipped Wings” is the We Came as Romans fans have grown to know and love. Every staple they built their career on is present here. It’s a great way to kick off the album. The eponymous second track is much the same. It’s pretty clear the band have taken a hint from the beating their last album received and are trying to give their longtime fans what they wanted. It’s a rare phenomenon when a successful band learns their lesson and makes a return to form.
The album is a true return to form, but the band still weren’t afraid to incorporate some of their outside influences. Vocalist Kyle Pavone experiments with electronic music outside of the band, and that influence is definitely prevalent on “Lost in the Moment.” There’s even a fully electronic track on here with “Encoder,” which is easily my least favorite track. That style just never did much for me outside of Kraftwerk and that’s not different here.
Cold like War is a much stronger album than their self-titled. As far as in their discography though, it doesn’t fare so well. It’s a fine album and if they stick to this style they shouldn’t run into any disappointed fans like they did before. It’s just a weaker album than their past released in this style. For my money Tracing Back Roots will always be their peak and this album doesn’t come close to touching that. For what it is though, this is a fine album.
I give Cold like War a 3/5.
Give a listen to “Vultures with Clipped Wings” here.