There are very, very few bands who have had as many line-up changes in such a short space of time as Woe, Is Me. In the band’s very short existence thus far, they have just one original member remaining, quite alarming for a line-up of seven different members. It’s no secret that last year’s ‘Genesi[s]’ was a lazy release which followed the generic post-hardcore album rulebook to the T. Despite this, at the time a lot of the members of the band were relatively new to the fold and the record was rushed, so maybe now things have settled new EP ‘American Dream’ will bring something more substantial to the table.
Is this more substantial? Yes, but only by a very minimal amount. Let’s cover the positives first, as in contrast to ‘Genesi[s]’ there is some clear improvements. The guitar work from Kevin Hanson and Andrew Paiano, though still boring, has steered away from the consistent chug after chug with each and every track.
Vocally, Doriano Magliano seems more in place with his screams and growls, and actually seems a bit more comfortable to the ear alongside the instrumentation from his bandmates. Clean vocalist, Hance Alligood, has also become a more dominant feature of Woe, Is Me. Thankfully, Alligood is trying far less to fill the shoes of previous singer Tyler Carter and being more himself, standing more than ever as the best feature of the band. So, it’s a relief to discover he plays a far more integral role on ‘American Dream’ than he ever did throughout ‘Genesi[s]’.
This, however, is where all good points end. Though there are steps in the right direction, the band are still drowning in the brimmy deep of post-hardcore cliches, overly recycled ideas and generally bland musicianship and lyricism, often becoming cringeworthy. ‘Stand Up’ is a terrible start to the EP, and if anything forces you to do the very opposite, as you’ll soon discover when lying on the floor, holding your ears in pain.
We finally see some form of light with the ironically titled ‘A Voice Of Hope’, still a completely generic track but one that can be enjoyed, but we’re soon delved into the slow plodding of not one but two incredibly cheesey slow numbers, ‘Restless Nights’ and ‘Fine Without You’. Here, we’re offered the voice of Alligood, an acoustic guitar and little else. Though it’s nice to hear his vocal talents with everything else stripped to bare bones, instrumentally it’s very boring and, combined with what’s already been heard, you wouldn’t be a fool for thinking you’re listening to a bargain bin A Day To Remember EP.
‘American Dream’ plays out far more as a nightmare. It’s nice to see Woe, Is Me finally making some progression with the new formation at hand, but there’s still a long way to go yet. For now though, Woe, Is Meh.
Written by Zach Redrup
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.