By Four Year Strong
With the release of 2007's 'Rise or Die Trying', Four Year Strong's meteoric rise from internet darlings to signing for Decaydance in 2008 was a swift one. I suppose it's apt then that their major label debut 'Enemy of the World' is one of the most anticipated albums of the year, but have they managed to keep their sound fresh in a scene now saturated with soundalikes?
While not as immediately accessible as 'RODT' when 'Enemy of the World' finally hits you, it hits you like a speeding bullet. The New Found Glory-esque riffs are still there, the duel - vocals and the breakdowns are as pungent as ever and yet, with 'Enemy of World' they seem even more massive.
You can thank the production value of this record for that, which is a vast improvement over 'RODT.' John Feldmann manages to find the perfect balance between poppy and gritty that a band in this genre strives for. A welcome change in the formula for Four Year Strong is the reduced use of the synthesiser as it sometimes seemed a little excessive on the last album, while this time it sounds perfectly paced and intrinsically linked with the songs.
First single "It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now" is a huge song bursting with breakdowns and hooks. In fact, all the tracks on offer have an exceptional way of borrowing into your brain. 'Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)' is a prime example of this while 'Find My Way Back' will have live audiences pogo-ing up and down as a future favourite.
The production value does nothing to dampen the raw energy and hardcore influences the band exuberates it just makes everything sound that much bigger. The gang vocals are omnipresent on "Nineteen With Neck Tatz" paced by the rattling drums of Jake Massucco whilst the shouting and howling on "What The Hell Is a Gigawatt" and album closer "Enemy of the World" ensure there's sing alongs a plenty.
In short, Four Year Strong have truly justified the hype and delivered an album that not only lives up to the much adored 'Rise or Die Trying' but surpasses it, ensuring that 2010 is going to be the year of beards and breakdowns.