Music Review: A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations

Loud Feedback Music Review: A Day To Remember - Bad Vibrations Album Cover

An Identity Crisis That’s Music To My Ears

By Jeff Feuerhaken

A Day To Remember is a great punk band. I mean, metalcore band. I mean, melodic rock band. I mean…wait, what kind of band is this again? Those familiar with said genres will no doubt be familiar with A Day To Remember, the Florida-based quintet with the aforementioned schizophrenic sound. In fact, the numbers don’t lie (usually), and the new album from ATDR, Bad Vibrations, recently debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200, just above some dude named Drake. The impressive first week showing is a testament that heavy chug-riffing with a little screamelody are still relevant in the current musical climate. So I gotta say, after listening to Bad Vibrations, I’m totally cool with them acting as spokesmen for the genre, because what they do, they do really, really well. And what is it they do, you might ask? As implied earlier, this is not an easy question to answer. A Day To Remember has traditionally been lumped into the Warped Tour/melodic post-punk scene, but they also seem right at home in both the respective punk rock and metalcore scenes. Wait, punk rock and metalcore? How is that even possible? Geez, you ask a lot of questions, but the only way I can describe it is to tell you to strap on them headphones and dive right in to Bad Vibrations.

Jeremy screams you straight into a seizure.

Jeremy screams you straight into a seizure.

The opening title track begins with a questionable moment of screaminess before launching into a heavy chugfest. The metalcore characteristics are on full display here: the palm-muted guitar and bass rhythms are in perfect sync with the kick drum, all accented by intermittent dissonant chords. What makes the song a little more interesting than your average metalcore jam is that it proceeds to lock into a catchy chorus, showcasing singer Jeremy McKinnon’s impressive range. The video for the song, which begins with a warning for all you epileptics out there, embellishes the music with moody, frenetic imagery. There is also a music video for the following track, “Paranoia”, which boasts a slightly different feel than the opener. This song shows a little more of the band’s faster-paced, aggressive musicality, very much in the vein of bands like Rise Against and Story Of The Year. The album’s third track, “Naivety”, also features a music video, the content of which is markedly different to what has preceded it thus far. The music is very much pop-punk, similar to the bands from the Epitaph and Fat Wreck school (which I love), and the video depicts the band in “oldface” makeup as they embark on a hypothetical reunion show somewhere off in the future. The result is both hilarious and catchy. There is one more music video already released for Bad Vibrations, and that is for the song “Bullfight”, a song about the historical persistence of violence, represented in the video through the eyes of an impressionist artist. It seems to be a new trend in the music industry to release a bunch of music videos before the album’s release. Weezer also did this with their “White Album”. I guess the trend takes its cue from the Netflix model, which releases an entire season of a show at once, rather than dole out the episodes week by week.

A Day To Remember, still keeping it straight gangsta in 2045.

A Day To Remember, still keeping it straight gangsta in 2045.

Bad Vibrations has something for everyone. There are so many different musical styles in play on this record, but at the same time it doesn’t feel incongruent. It feels like a talented band showcasing all the different styles they’re capable of, reminiscent of albums like Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illlusion(s) or Metallica’s “Black Album”. It is the dynamic range of music that makes Bad Vibrations so interesting. The album was produced by Jason Livermore and the Descendents’ Bill Stevenson, at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, CO. These guys show once again that they’re right there with the great punk producers of all time. The production is undeniably tight, and there are a lot of different types of sounds contained on the album. All of the musicianship on the album, courtesy of guitarists Neil Westfall and Kevin Skaff, bassist Joshua Woodward, and drummer Alex Shelnutt, is tight and impressive without being overly flashy. In the case of this album, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you’re a fan of punk, or a fan of metalcore, or a fan of melodic rock, or a fan of music in general, I recommend checking this album out.

Score: 7/8 stars

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