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RECORD REVIEW: We Came As Romans' new release Tracing Back Roots

Unabashed torch-carriers for melodic metalcore and wildly successful outside of their home state of Michigan, We Came As Romans released their third full length on Tuesday, Tracing Back Roots. Following the success of 2011's Understanding What We've Grown to Be, this is the band's most introspective and accessible release yet.
Kicking off the album is the titletrack, "Tracing Back Roots" which contemplates years of  a "life on the road" and coming home to empty heart, which is a fascinating premise as the band prepares for a non-stop summer/fall tour. In this case, WCAR is tracing back to their years as a young band and relfecting on the things that brought them here. More so than the mean streets of Troy, Michigan, WCAR has been battle tested with years of touring across the globe.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Roots and previous efforst is vocalist Dave Stephens clean singing for the first time ever. He now joins co-vocalist Kyle Pavone with clean, soraing hamonies that show a human vulnerability to his powerful scream. The thick wall of sound that fans have come to know and love is ever present on this album, produced by John Feldmann [The Used, Black Veil Brides, All Time Low] it is the most polished and sonically diverse offering to date. "I Survive" featuring Aaron Gillespie of Underoath has the kind of crossover pop-metal appeal that could take the band to the upper echelon of modern rock radio.
Perhaps the only downfall of this release is that it is too perfect. The slight tinge of autotuned vocals is barely audible at times, but just enough to make the listener aware that this is indeed studio perfection. I can appreciate the honest, personal lyrics, but the sheen of the production does little to separate the band from the pack of crabcore bands. Roots straddles the line between introspection on life-changing influences and just blowing it all up. I would like to think that there is a Black Flag album in the WCAR record collection, but perhaps the band has yet to trace back that far.
Tracing Back Roots is available just about everywhere you can buy music, but check out the special edition available exclusively at Target with two bonus tracks.