I had to look no further than the very cover of this album to know that I wasn’t going to like it. The sticker on the cover reads “For fans of My Chemical Romance, From First to Last, Bleeding Through, and Senses Fail.” Ouch; that’s game, set, match right there. After reading that, I didn’t even want to pop this into my CD drive. Epitaph is really barking up the wrong tree signing bands like this; leave that crap to someone else.
Combining the absolute worst parts of “mall screamo” that bands like Senses Fail have popularized, and self-loathing gothic imagery, every track here is more or less a mirror image of the last. The vapid, thoughtless lyrics tackle such topics as depression, angst, depression, loss, and vampires. Well, at least they didn’t recycle any concepts that have been used before by every single other band playing this exact same style; that’d have been an unfortunate creative decision. If I was to count the number of times the words 'angel,' 'wings,' 'love,' 'hate,' or 'broken' appear within the liner notes, I’d surely have a full day’s work ahead of me. It’s really just funny at this point that these sort of bands are so devoid of individuality that even their own lyrics are completely interchangeable between songs. Lines from “Eulogies and Epitaphs” and “Kiss Me Like You Wanted” could be randomized and switched, and nobody would be the wiser. But even with a band such as this, there’s more to the music than poorly conceived lyrics.
I think the best assessment I could possibly give this band is to take My Chemical Romance, throw in some of Senses Fail’s erratic screaming, and the occasional metal riffing, and this will be your result. A lot of the vocal melodies seem to be styled around what MCR has become so well known for, just a lot of drawn out theatrics that could make a 5-word sentence into half of the song. There’s some female vocals as well for contrast purposes, but whenever they’re used they essentially get drowned out by either the main vocals or some unnecessary background screaming,.
Every song follows more or less the same formula. It either starts out with some dissonant riffing and screaming, moving quickly into more melodic territory, or it starts in that slow melodic territory and eventually builds up for the screaming at the end of the track. There’s exceptions, but that general rule holds true in almost every instance I’ve found. Take the title track, “We Were Always Searching,” where things begin with some Darkest Hour like-riffing, before some odd keyboard parts and the slowdown to an almost whispered singing delivery. The vocals slowly but surely get louder while the clean guitars work on their own underneath, barely even heard below the singer's falsetto. There’s about 20 seconds directly in the middle of the song where I Am Ghost goes into hardcore freakout mode, only to have things return to the stale redundancy that has been building all album long. Even when the singer, who’s seemingly plenty capable, hits some great vocal melodies, it’s buried so far into the ground with repetition that the talent doesn’t even matter any more, as long as the song is over.
Beneath all the gloss and polish, there’s little to no redeeming value. They don’t stand out in the slightest, not even among their boring retread peers. Ah well, another one bites the dust.