Four Year Strong - Rise or Die Trying (Cover Artwork)

Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong: Rise or Die TryingRise or Die Trying (2007)
I Surrender

Reviewer Rating: 2
User Rating:

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

I can, without reservation, say that you've heard Four Year Strong's Rise or Die Trying before. You may have heard it under the name of some other band, but rest assured, this mix of pop-punk and hardcore is not by any means novel, and on that token, it is not by any means interesting. And it's .
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I can, without reservation, say that you've heard Four Year Strong's Rise or Die Trying before. You may have heard it under the name of some other band, but rest assured, this mix of pop-punk and hardcore is not by any means novel, and on that token, it is not by any means interesting.

And it's not even just that the combination of the two genres has grown tired; that was never a good idea in the first place. If you put a gun to my head, cocked it, and told me that you'd kill me unless I could name a band that did that style well, let's just say I wouldn't even be typing this review right now. That improbable situation aside, the fact of the matter is the same with this record as it is with many similar -- drop the hardcore, and it would be a solid pop-rock effort.

That's not the case however, and as a result, songs like "Beatdown in the Key of Happy" lose their punch. A quickly-paced track with some heavier guitar parts, the song remains focused on the bouncy rhythm and just how the vocals adhere to that. With an undeniably catchy chorus and some enjoyable verses, it's really beyond my comprehension as to why at the end of the song the band chooses to throw in a breakdown and an oddly-placed scream. I realize that some of the chord progressions running through the song were loud, but it fit. It worked. The crystalline vocals were punctuated well by the combination of a "whoa-oh" chorus and some distorted riffs; the breakdown at the end was completely unnecessary.

And that's somewhat of a recurring theme throughout the course of the record: There are way too many instances where Four Year Strong compromise an otherwise enjoyable song for something that only detracts from it. Just when the band gets on a bit of a roll, something comes in that really makes you scratch your head. There's no continuity and there's no uniform sound for them to build momentum on; it's a collection of random ideas thrown on top of otherwise enjoyable songs. "Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die" falls into the exact same trap as "Beatdown," in that a good rhythm is thrown askew by...

You guessed it, another contrived breakdown.

I understand that Four Year Strong is trying to cater to the Set Your Goals fanbase, but what's unfortunate is that it's at the expense of what could have been a passable, if not entirely enjoyable pop-rock record. Good vocals and a sense of rhythm to match are forsaken. For what? The three seconds per song it takes to hop on a trend?

Not a fair trade if you ask me.


People who liked this also liked:
A Wilhelm Scream - RuinerWe Are the Union - Who We AreA Wilhelm Scream - Mute PrintA Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideThe Swellers - My EverestPolar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearSet Your Goals - Mutiny!Polar Bear Club - The Redder, The BetterPolar Bear Club - Chasing HamburgAlkaline Trio - Goddamnit

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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.
hein (January 13, 2010)

Although there's indeed a shitload of these bands doing catchy pop-punk with a twist, this CD was fun to listen to. Nothing I'll be listening to in a few years, but I always love synths throw inbetween, and as long as things are on the move I will still like this kind of music. I didn't have a big problem with those breakdowns. I have a lot more problems with growling and howling inbetweens of so many bands.

RedElephant (August 17, 2008)

i really didnt like these guys at all until i saw them live.. then it kinda just clicked together.

and i usually dont like bands like this either.

mattminds (July 7, 2008)

I think it's an amazing album. And I think the best part is that people, like whoever reviewed this, have no idea what they're talking about.

It's called individuality, dumbass. There's 10,000 pop punk bands out right now that all sound the same.

messyblumpkin (June 7, 2008)

This album is awesome. You all suck.

LooseKanonYankee (January 28, 2008)

I love it when Hardcore meets Pop-punk. But this has all the wrong elements from those two genres. I ant fast beats, not break downs. I want vocalist with passion, not training

kman1224 (December 16, 2007)

I only really enjoy one song (Heroes Get Remembered) on this CD. I can't get into the other songs no matter how hard I try. Set Your Goals and Daggermouth do this hardcore meets pop-punk thing MUCH MUCH better.

jt (December 13, 2007)

FYS>Set Your Goals. I'm not a fan of either, but FYS is better live. SYG puts out better records, but FYS was really good live. When I saw Set Your Goals live the first time they had a bad set. The second time they were pretty good, but that still gets thrown in with the bad performance.

coldwaffles (December 13, 2007)

biased review. this band sounds like latterman vs. set your goals to me. good but it doesn't hold my attention the whole time. not all absolutehype, there is something here. i'd give it 3 stars.

Mookie_Blaylock (December 12, 2007)

Everywhere, chicks fuckin diddlin' themselves!

TheMarc (December 12, 2007)

Fuckin' clown shoes.

inagreendase (December 12, 2007)

Kinda sucks.

cokeslurpees (December 12, 2007)

Pretty fun record. Nothing super special. but a lot of fun live.

TheMike (December 12, 2007)

Why is it that every album reviewed here that has interesting / wacky cover art is some weak pop/punk or hardcore album? I want something new and neurotic.

elephantdwarf (December 12, 2007)

i can't stop listening to this record. for like... 3 weeks straight now. it's never out of my head. i didn't like the forced breakdown parts at first, now i think its kind of funny and doesn't even distract at all to me. also reminds me of Hot Rod Circuit, strangely, in a bunch of parts.

llmp (December 11, 2007)

This is one of those albums that I know isn't that great or even good, but it doesn't hurt my ears to listen to.

And I'm all for not hurting my ears.

LookBackAndLaugh (December 11, 2007)

CIV was pretty good at doing this, but the fact that it's becoming some sort of trend is unfortunate.

onegirlarmy (December 11, 2007)

Agreed with what others have said: I actually like this band and album a bit, but the breakdowns are definitely unnecessary. All the "hardcore" parts just seem forced, and normally bands like this I don't really give the time of day, but this is sickeningly catchy enough to hold my attention and ignore the breakdowns and screams. I too would like to see what would happen if they dropped all that.

skapunk810 (December 11, 2007)

this record is fun, that's all there is basically....
good effort in my opinion

bxbomber (December 11, 2007)

The last song on this album is pretty good.

insinceredave (December 11, 2007)

I've gotta say the pop-punk hardcore trend is much better than the my chemical romance 'emo' induced trend it replaced.

Hey, at least this stuff is fun as well as being shit.

amateursuperhero (December 11, 2007)

I like this record but I can see where the criticism of the breakdowns is coming from, they're for the most part unnecessary. It seems that in the wake of all th SYG buzz bands thing that kids are only going to get into their stuff if they make a bunch of unnatural nods to hardcore, and I just don't think that's true.

Big_Guy (December 11, 2007)

I really like this album and band a lot, but I would like to see what happens if they would drop the breakdowns. my favorite songs are probably the ones without breakdowns when it all comes down to it

danperrone (December 11, 2007)

this album is stupid as hell

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