Attack Attack! - This Means War (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Attack Attack!

This Means War (2012)


Attack Attack!'s self-titled sophomore effort was largely an incoherent mess. Their mixture of distorted/clean, loud/soft, and metalcore/electronic went together like peaches and gravy. On This Means War, Attack Attack! pare things down a bit by getting rid of their extra clean vocalist and handling production duties in-house. These changes result in a marked improvement in the band, but they still suffer from major songwriting weaknesses.

"The Betrayal" works where "The Revolution" does not because the metalcore verses have a hint of melody to them. When the electro-pop hook comes in on "The Betrayal" it is more of a natural transition. With contrast playing so heavily into Attack Attack!'s songwriting, a smooth transition can make all the difference. Remember how the Flaming Lips' Zaireeka had four different parts that had to be played simultaneously on four different players? That is what "The Hopeless" reminds me of, except the two parts being played are completely unrelated. "The Reality" and "The Motivation" get the contrast working again but it isn't enough to really salvage the album.

"The Family" highlights the main problem with This Means War and Attack Attack! in general. "The Family" is the most straightforward metalcore song on the album and it is really good but most of the riffs and breakdowns on the album are really derivative and boring. If Attack Attack! were to drop the electronic elements from their sound completely no one would pay any attention to them, they need that gimmick to sustain an album.

This Means War is a step in the right direction for Attack Attack! but the progress feels like it might be a band plateauing. The album is about as good as it is bad but the good is worth checking out if you enjoy metalcore and electro-pop.