Released on September 13, 2011, “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” (UWWGTB) is the sophomore release from metalcore band We Came As Romans (yes, metalcore counts as it’s own genre), and their follow up to 2009’s successful debut “To Plant A Seed” (TPAS).
The biggest difference between the two albums comes in the lyrical form. UWWGTB contains a darker concept, whereas TPAS contained more positivity. However, that’s not to say that they’ve dropped being positive from their song writing. They’ve just moved to a different type of positive. Guitarist Joshua Moore describes the album’s content as “a lot more about dealing and coping when things turn out the opposite of how you’d imagined they would.” So basically, it’s an album meant for growing up.
Instrumentally, the band has kept its sound on their second album, taking symphonic elements that each band member brings, such as piano, violin, and strings, and combining that with the brutality that all metalcore brings, being twin guitars and pounding double bass from drummer Eric Choi. The big instrumental difference is that there seems to be less keyboards/synth and more actual guitar solos. But neither is highly noticeable unless you’re specifically looking for them. (I’d name the songs for you, but where’s the fun in that?)
Vocally, the album hasn’t changed much either, as the tracks still have the sound that screams “We are We Came As Romans!”. The mixture of operatic styled singing/screaming vocals is again reminiscent of Underoath, a very similar band that they take a lot of influence from. Seeing a band pay homage to someone they respect but still keep their own unique style is amazing.
The spots that highlight the album are guest spots from guest appearances by Close To Home guitarist/vocalist Josh Wells on the opening and closing tracks, “Mis//Understanding” and “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be”, and the fact that entire album has a feeling of growth to it (again, that whole growing up element). You go in on a dark note, feeling as if the world’s let you down, and you leave with a regained sense of faith and purpose.
Is this an album you could listen to on shuffle? Probably, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s made to listen to from start to finish, yet isn’t technically a concept album. There’s no story, and that works just fine for this band
Overall, the album doesn’t bring much change from the first, but would work just fine for new fans who are just discovering We Came As Romans. Fans of vocal mixtures in metal will enjoy this, and I feel it’s a fitting follow up to TPAS. It’s nice to see an up and coming band find a sound that works and stick with it. (However if you’re a die-hard fan of Underoath, you MAY feel this is a rip-off. But I assure you, it isn’t.)
“Just Keep Breathing”
“Views That Never Cease, to Keep Me from Myself”
Rating out of 5:
Casting the first stone,
“Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” – Official Music Video