"It would be almost too easy and obvious to describe A Day to Remember as the creators of one of the unforgettable rock albums of 2007, but that wouldn’t make it any less true. Hailing from Ocala, Florida, the five members of A Day to Remember have crafted a unique blend of what can best be called “pop-mosh” -- a potent combination of ultra-high energy and tart-sweet melodies. You can hear the melodic chaos in its full glory on For Those Who Have Heart, their debut album on Victory Records."
That’s the insufferable promo propaganda that pops up on Last.fm every time a track by A Day to Remember is scrobbled from my iTunes while my playlist is on shuffle. This band goes for about every style popular in the teen scene today, and “pop-mosh” is about the least accurate description possible, as the record is neither catchy enough to be considered pop nor consistently fast and hard enough to be associated with a mosh, unless flailing spin kicks are to be considered “mosh."
The album starts out incredibly promising in “Fast Forward to 2012,” with a melodic hardcore lead-in and an introduction to the listener: "We welcome you to the second chapter, thanks for turning the other page / We acknowledge you as the only reason / for the progress that we've made." However, in the blink of an eye, things begin to turn sour: "You’re a constant reminder / We came, we saw, we conquered." Ugh. And in mere seconds the melodic punk is replaced by vocals that sound like a post-Taco Bell burrito belch somehow extended and enunciated into, "My friends come first, that’s the bottom line!" [repeat 2x]. The belchy singer then demands the listener to "pick up your feet!" as the drummer pounds out a round of double-bass thumps. I can only imagine a crowd of black-clothed teens punching and kicking at the air furiously in a futile attempt to release their prefabricated angst. Along with the unbearable belched shouts and clichéd double-bass breakdowns, the band also falls equally flat with their attempt at acoustic emo pop in “The Price We Pay,” which features the horrifically banal lyrics "Days roll on / Shout it out loud / We know the price we pay" over and over for nearly three minutes.
The interesting impracticality of assigning a score to this album is that much of the music is quite good -- the problem lies in the relatively few but consistently occurring faults: the belch-style vocals, the stomp-by-numbers breakdowns, and the occasionally mawkish lyrics by means of wailing emo vocals. “Show ‘Em the Ropes” flirts with quality before being ruined by grunts and lyrics as bad as any Self Against City ballad. Easily the best song on For Those Who Have Heart is “Here’s to the Past,” a great melodic hardcore song with a furious rhythm, decent lyrics, and minimal belched yells.
As one saving grace to an overall questionable album, A Day to Remember comes off as far less pompous than many of their scene-ruling contemporaries like Senses Fail or Escape the Fate. The band's good intentions radiate on For Those Who Have Heart. Unfortunately for A Day to Remember, good intentions don’t necessarily translate to quality, and the end result is an album mediocre at best.