Classic Review: Woe, Is Me – Numbers

Atlanta, Georgia’s Woe, Is Me are off to an excellent start. Having been signed to Rise Records in 2010, mere months after their formation, one would think that the band members had been touring vigorously in order to gain exposure. Such an assumption would be incorrect. The metalcore unit skipped over the conventional methods of attracting attention, and merely used the internet as their means of assembling a fan base. Uploading music, videos, pictures, and blogs onto social networking websites such as Facebook and Myspace was all that was needed in order to get the label’s attention. In fact, Woe, Is Me had inked their record deal prior to ever even playing a live show. Now that their debut full-length has been released, entitled Numbers, will the band’s upward trajectory continue? Only time will tell. The album itself, however, has already seen promising sales figures and has been generally well-received by fans of the band’s early material. Rightfully so, as the music contained within the record is far more interesting than that of many of their heavy music peers and label-mates.

Woe, Is Me stand apart from the crowd for several reasons. They have two lead vocalists, two lead guitarists, a keyboardist, a bassist, and a drummer, totaling seven band members. This allows them to deviate from the tried and true metalcore path in a variety of ways. Menacing, vitriolic screams are juxtaposed with angelic, melodic singing, which consistently keeps things interesting in the vocal department. The keyboards actually add a great deal of depth to the band’s sound; they deliver sinister, somewhat orchestral passages that breath life into the musical compositions. Unfortunately, the album’s guitar work largely falls short. Although technically proficient, the guitarists consistently follow a formula that grows tiresome as the album progresses. They bounce back and forth between punishing, open-note breakdowns and delay-drenched lead lines that flow rather well, but should have been utilized far more sparingly. There are a few tracks that are noticeably well-written, but for the most part, the songs are difficult to distinguish from one another. Sometimes this can work towards an album’s advantage, achieving a sense of unity, but in this case it just makes certain moments sound completely redundant. Each individual member of Woe, Is Me can clearly play very well, but the band needs to work on writing songs that utilize their skills to the fullest extent. The group’s biggest asset is arguably clean vocalist Tyler Carter, who is able to make up for some of the album’s dull moments with his emotional performance, belting out high notes with a great deal of finesse. His vocal style contains healthy doses of rock and R&B influences, which make him far more captivating than the majority of the genre’s clean vocalists. In summation, Numbers is an intriguing deviation from standard metalcore monotony. Woe, Is Me are a highly talented group of musicians, but they still have plenty of room to improve.

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