Story of the Year - The Constant
Release Date: February 16, 2010
Record Label: Epitaph
“If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” That’s the philosophy Story of the Year has subscribed to since breaking out with their gold debut album, 2003’s Page Avenue. 7 years later, the St. Louis quintet have switched labels (from major Maverick to indie-powerhouse Epitaph) and released albums that added in new quirks, but overall the band has maintained the same direction: loud and fast rock anthems that get your heart pumping.
That isn’t to say the band hasn’t fine-tuned their craft. Their fourth studio album (second for Epitaph), The Constant continues the precedent set by previous albums, featuring the big riffs and melodies we’ve come to expect, yet it rarely gets stale. The title is fitting, since the band has been pretty consistent with their music since Page. And just like the three previous albums, the energy seeps out of The Constant’s pores throughout, as guitarists Ryan Phillips and Philip Sneed try to keep up with vocalist Dan Marsala’s pace.
In fact, if you have ever seen SOTY live, you know for a fact that the energy never dies, and that’s something the band tries to replicate on every album. “The Ghost of You and I” is a perfect representation of this. The chorus is just begging you to pogo along with it, as this track will definitely be a live staple.
First single “I’m Alive” is your typical radio rock fare, making it the weakest track on the album, but “To The Burial” quickly picks up the slack. SOTY flex their muscles on the track, as it’ll make you want to brawl with Godsmack fans. “The Dream Is Over” is very Page Avenue friendly, while “Remember a Time” sounds like Weezer trying to incite a mosh pit.
The album awkwardly enters the power ballad lane with “Holding On To You.” The intentions are good, but the execution is poor. Thankfully, it feels like that song never happened once “Won Threw Ate” blasts through the speakers. Sounding like something out of the “Fire” portion of The Alchemy Index, Marsala burns the place down with his scorching vocals. The song proves that when SOTY wants to be heavy, they can really bring it. It just makes you wish they brought it like this more often.
While The Constant gets off to a slow start with the first few tracks, the second half really shines. “Ten Years Down” is incredibly catchy, and final track “Eye For An Eye” is SOTY going balls out. Musically, the band has always been talented, making up for the average at best lyricism. If anything, The Constant comes across as a more focused The Black Swan. This is a genuinely fun album to rock out to – nothing more, nothing less - thus serving as the perfect pick-me-up during the bitter winter months ahead. While Story of the Year won’t win any originality awards any time soon, they definitely still know how to bring a party to your speakers.
I'm looking forward to this album--more than I would like to admit. Haha. Great review...Although, I would disagree that they haven't change since Page Avenue...But that might just be the over-production on that particular album overshadowing the actual songs.
Page was awesome, Determination was solid, and Black Swan had some good tracks but it was probably my least favorite from them. Maybe my tastes have changed, but I'm still looking forward to this album and hopefully it delivers with the same replay value that their first 2 albums had.