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How We Are - To Teach a Hundred (Cover Artwork)

How We Are

How We Are: To Teach a HundredTo Teach a Hundred (2006)
Triple Attack

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

How We Are frontman Rory VanGrol is somewhat of a wonder. In an era of music where so many singers can't even make one band sound halfway decent, there is VanGrol, with two successful and two talented bands. When he's not bellowing from the depths of his lungs as the head of Achilles, he's spastical.
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How We Are frontman Rory VanGrol is somewhat of a wonder. In an era of music where so many singers can't even make one band sound halfway decent, there is VanGrol, with two successful and two talented bands. When he's not bellowing from the depths of his lungs as the head of Achilles, he's spastically delivering his thought-invoking lyrics as the frontman for Rochester hardcore standouts How We Are.

To Teach a Hundred is the brand new full-length for the latter of those projects, and I can tell you without reservation that it was well worth the wait.

It all starts with those spastic vocals. From the outset, the energy and drive behind VanGrol and the rest of the band is nothing if not overpowering. After a quick and speedy riff to open the song those manic screams enter the fold, immediately making for a chaotic swirl of sound that fits perfectly with the driving rhythms laying underneath. The vocals are only one element of the band though, and I'd be remiss to say they're the only impressive aspect of the record. The most notable step up from 2004's EP is the guitar work. The combination of Adam Vernick and Michael Sarnowski is as dynamic and formidable as any duo you're liable to find in hardcore. Look no further than "Thrush" for a perfect illustration of their cohesion.

Starting simply enough, the speed quickly escalates, as the clean chord progressions bounce all around the scales with reckless abandon. Not to be outdone, VanGrol's lyrical prowess is as well illustrated here as anywhere else on the record; "How much longer can we engage / In these cat and mouse games / We all have fingers pointing, at someone / With a list of reasons why. So many tongues are burning / And no one's standing down. Pride is losing its sentiment / But to some, it's the only thing they have left."

It seems so token and so cliché to mention in regards to a hardcore record, but the sincerity and passion in those words is something that makes the music seem that much more profound. If it wasn't evident enough on that track, "Beacon," a song written about the band's hometown of Rochester, will make it crystal clear.

By the time the sixth song on the album, "If It Kills Me," rolls around, How We Are is truly firing on all cylinders. Building and festering off their own energy, this five-piece just keeps adding on layer after layer of intensity, with VanGrol's vocal chords seemingly shredding in two. The songs after "If It Kills Me" keep on hitting like rapid fire, finally culminating in the title track, "To Teach a Hundred." This is the song that perfectly encompasses everything this band strives to be, the song that encompasses how each individual member contributes so much. From John 25's excellent bass work, to Tommy Vollmer's unrelenting fills, it's all perfectly in sync. The song is a very quick-moving one that depends a lot on the drumming, until the screams of "To‚?¶Teach‚?¶ a‚?¶ hund‚?¶red" seem to end things -- but that is not the case. The vocals soon come back in faster and more unrelenting than before, with the help and assistance of one Ted AB, repeating his verses with all the grit and conviction he brings to his own band. Quickly joined by Chuck Hickey of Black SS, Rory, and the rest of HWA, the impassioned gang vocals repeating words that sum the band up better than I possibly could.

"We keep time with songs on repeat, we keep warm with the words that we scream." So true Mr. Vangrol, so true.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
EliseEffect (March 29, 2007)

Yes, How We Are is a Lifetime reference.

And they're one of the best bands to ever come out of Rochester.

Anonymous (November 18, 2006)

Average record. Getting an unbiased review from someone who appears to be on first name terms with the band was always asking a bit much.

Flowbee (November 17, 2006)

Band is amazing. This is easily in my top 3 hardcore records of '06. "If It Kills Me" gives me goosebumps.

Flowbee (November 17, 2006)

Band is amazing. This is easily in my top 3 hardcore records of '06. "If It Kills Me" gives me goosebumps.

jamespastepunk (November 15, 2006)

Anyone from HOW WE ARE reading this: Please come back to Chicago next summer with POLAR BEAR CLUB. I promise there won't be any skinheads this time!

Anchors (November 14, 2006)

I love anonymous toughguys.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

First off Anchors reviews suck. Secomdly, I saw this band live and they were decent, but I just realized its the same dude who sang for Standfast and that band was awesome. On record does this compare?

Anchors (November 14, 2006)

Haha don't worry about it John, there's a handful of trolls on here that exist for the sole purpose of anonymously giving me shit. Fun life that must be.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

those lyrics are horrible

xJ25x (November 14, 2006)

If anyone reading this ordered the record and hasn't gotten yet, please get in touch with us: how_we_are@hotmail.com

We've had issues with the label and we don't want people mad at something we had no control over.

Also, to the dude below . . . have you actually listened to our band or are you judging solely by who reviewed it?

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

The person who reviews the worst music and gives it high scores is back, Kowabunga.

skankin_in_the_pit (November 14, 2006)

Black SS are awesome. I've never heard this band, but I'll be ordering that split.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

pick up their split with black ss at www.specimen32.com

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

Band's name is a Lifetime reference but no, they don't sound too too like Lifetime.

The band they sound most like is Verse.

I still don't have this damn record yet, but How We Are rules, I need to see them again soon.

m-oo (November 14, 2006)

"It all starts with those spastic vocals"

I lol'd

Archangel (November 14, 2006)

I'm checking them out on Myspace now... this is great.

inagreendase (November 14, 2006)

Vangrol's got the perfect voice for Achilles, but I'm not sure about the songs I heard from this. I'll probably still give it a chance; Anchorscore has produced some solid jams and a new favorite.

SloaneDaley (November 14, 2006)

is thsi band's name a Lifetime refernce the way they are described it doesn't sound too Lifetime-ish dang.

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