Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World (Cover Artwork)

Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong: Enemy of the WorldEnemy of the World (2010)
Universal Motown / Decaydance

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:

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

Four Year Strong's Enemy of the World comes on the heels of the band's unfathomably popular breakthrough, 2007's Rise or Die Trying, as well as last year's shoulder-shrugging holdover of '90s alternative covers, Explains It All. Anyone put off by the band's ridiculous mish-mash of overtly bouncy, ne.
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Four Year Strong's Enemy of the World comes on the heels of the band's unfathomably popular breakthrough, 2007's Rise or Die Trying, as well as last year's shoulder-shrugging holdover of '90s alternative covers, Explains It All. Anyone put off by the band's ridiculous mish-mash of overtly bouncy, new-school pop-punk and layering of sledge-hammered, metallic hardcore mosh parts will be more than pleased to hear how toned down the contrast is for their major label debut, but may still ultimately find something lacking.

Opener "It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now" (its title lifted from the closing line in Alternative Press's review of comrades Set Your Goals' This Will Be the Death of Us) has a central chorus that's actually pretty enjoyable, while "This Body Pays the Bill$" traverses a similarly solid, melodic route; but the former's riffy mosh-metal cues still sound sort of absurd--again, though, the band used to shoehorn these in so much worse and higher over a proverbial top. Their gravelly yells tended to be wildly overdone in the past as well, which is something you tend to hear moreso in the ongoing onslaught of the band's followers; in "On a Saturday," where guitars and keys are compressed to a teeth-chattering, seething fault, those given yells are far from the song's worst aspect, as they're at least less strained than prior. The keys are especially moderated when the energy runs rampant, as "Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)" attests. Given less prominence, they're able to add a quiet, cheeky layer to an otherwise relatively fun, thumping song.

Still, it feels like these songs fail to tell some sort of story or carry some sort of narrative arc. Any thematic continuity the band might be trying to convey is overpowered by these thunderous transitions that give way to parts that do nothing else but prostrate, sway or groove, and the band's personality comes at a premium as a result. "Nineteen with Neck Tatz" loads up on a staggering number of guitar and vocal tracks and once in a while it just feels overwhelming--like there's too much going on at once. Some bands revel in that chaos, but it just doesn't seem to bode well for Four Year Strong. You listen to "What the Hell is a Gigawatt" and just want to tell the band to take a breath, no less when Reign Supreme's Jay Pepito comes in to ferociously growl over a hardcore New Found Glory-inspired breakdown.

The most promise for the band shines in the almost genuine melodic hardcore pacing and drive of the closing title track. Given their major label status, that's probably an unlikely path for them to take; but given their apparent willingness to at least acknowledge the excess occasionally evident in their sound, it's a remote possibility. Either way, Enemy of the World is an improvement and example of Four Year Strong thankfully shedding excess and getting closer to the core of what makes a thoughtful and resounding song--as opposed to just a rhetorical one.

It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now
On a Saturday
Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)


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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.
geoudes (October 13, 2011)

Very good album. Enemy of the World vs. ROTD, I'd have to side with Rise. Though a musicianship improvement, ROTD had many memorable moments; Enemy of the World had some too, but some songs are easily forgotten.

bud_boomer (May 24, 2010)

1. a gigawatt is 1 billion watts. come on.

2. this band/record stinks.

thepopeofchili-town (May 23, 2010)

No thanks.

FaithIsForFools (May 22, 2010)

Not as bad as I figured it would be, and it sounds like they could possibly be a kick-ass band if they didn't do what they actually do.

Not good, but could be worse. I'd rather the little mall-shits listen to this band than, say, All Time Low.

xxgivebloodxx (May 22, 2010)

I think the change in vocals would sound better in any other band, but I miss the old Jekyll/Hyde shifts, and the guitars are too predictable here. It's a good album in terms of cutting out the bad from the last one, they just also happened to trim some of the good. Much better than Explains It All (how such a good band managed to fuck up such good songs...??) but it's no Rise.

iruineverything (May 22, 2010)

??Still, it feels like these songs fail to tell some sort of story or carry some sort of narrative arc.?

??I wasn't requesting an actual storyline or novella. Christ.?

Not trying to attack you or anything, but your review suggests that an actual story is exactly what you were requesting. Just saying.

inagreendase (May 21, 2010)

Rich nailed it. I don't know why that was so hard to understand. I wasn't requesting an actual storyline or novella. Christ.

literamaniac (May 21, 2010)

I really enjoyed "Nineteen with Neck Tatz", though I agree that "What the Hell is a Gigawatt?" kinda goes all over the place without much continuity. But definitely an improvement, there's nothing as sugary annoying as "Catastrophe" on here

red_eye_inc (May 21, 2010)

I think he probably thinks there isn't a story arc because there aren't any ballads. More bands should embrace the "no ballads" philosophy.

Dante3000 (May 21, 2010)

I believe when Brian says a narrative or an arc he isn't referring to a concept album (where there's a literal story), so much as the over all feeling and continuity of the album. It sounds like instead of crafting a sound or an album the songs are almost haphazardly slapped together with no thought as to how they will evolve as an overall sound, just that more and bigger is better.

iruineverything (May 21, 2010)

Love everything about this album. Huge improvement over RODT. And as for "lacking a story arc", are you fucking kidding me? Were you hoping for an Enemy of the World Broadway show?

upthepunx (May 21, 2010)

good album
Not great, like Rise or Die was, but still solid.

silverzone (May 21, 2010)

I enjoyed the hell out of this. I'm not gonna lie. It's an improvement from RODT, and the tracks fit in well. It's just an awesome album to listen to with the windows down. A summer time essential. I say 4/5

tris (May 21, 2010)

I love this album. it's such a ridiculous sugar rush you can't help but get caught up. 'what the hell is a gigawatt' has already become something of a summertime anthem for me, while 'one step at a time' sounds like the hit falloutboy never wrote.

four year strong > new found glory >>>>>>>>>>>>>> set your goals

red_eye_inc (May 21, 2010)

Is this guy really complaining that this pop punk album doesn't have a story arc? Ridiculous. The only problem with this album is the mastering. The drums drown out the guitars and the bass and is barely there. Other than that, it's ace.

paulrulzdood (May 21, 2010)

i like it. like the reviewer stated, they toned down the contrast of pop and hardcore to mix them more evenly. not as much hardcore growling and screaming on this one, but conversly, not as much high-pitched pop-punk nasal whine either. just kind of gruff vocal delivery throughout. musically they did tone down the moog/keys and maybe put a little more aggression into their sound, toned down the pop a bit and toned down the hardcore as well. it just seems like they did a good job on this album of combining their hardcore/pop mashup sound into a more cohesive sound instead of "hardcore as hell one minute, poppy as hell the next"

lyrically nothing special, but a fun, upbeat album. as a big fan of NFG, bands that do this style appeal to me (particuarly these guys and SYG).


Gainer (May 21, 2010)

this guy lloves smartbomb

HeresLookinAtYou (May 21, 2010)

XCheeseCoreX brah. Awful.

Ak3punk (May 21, 2010)

Loved this album. Sorry 4/5 for sure.

It's only halfway through the year and I already have the makings of a fantastic year end list. This Four Year Strong album is on it for sure. Here's some other albums that are fucking great this year:

The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Against Me - White Crosses
More Than Life - Love Let Me Go
Crime In Stereo - I was trying to describe you to someone
Counterparts - Prophets
Alkaline Trio - This Addiction
The Menzingers - Chamberlain Waits

Blackjaw_ (May 21, 2010)

Did not enjoy.

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