For 13 years, A Day to Remember has been at the forefront of a new era for the metalcore and post-hardcore genres, but with legal disputes and two less than stellar albums released in recent years, the band has been fading from mainstream popularity. But, fortunately, their recent endeavor is a comeback. Going back to their roots, ADTR’s sixth studio album “Bad Vibrations” is the best album they have released in years.
The Florida-based band first launched into the scene back in 2005 with the release of their debut album “And Their Name Was Treason.” The band took the post-hardcore genre to new heights. In the next four years, the band would go on to release two more albums: “For Those Who Have Heart” and “Homesick.” The band sort of went downhill from there, which was mostly due to the 2010 release of the ambitious but lackluster album “What Separates Me from You” and the long legal dispute with Victory Records that followed. The band self-released “Common Courtesy” in 2013, and for the most part, that album was pretty forgettable. This brings us to their now second self-released album “Bad Vibrations.”
“Bad Vibrations” is an 11 track record that clocks out at around 42 minutes in length. The first thing to take away from this album is that this version of ADTR is not the band we have come to know, but in a good way. This record has much more in common, both structurally and musically, with previous records like “Homesick” and “For Those Who Have Heart.” “Bad Vibrations” takes the best parts of those albums, combines them and makes them even better.
Musically, within the first minute of this record you get hit right in the face with frontman Jeremy McKinnon’s vocals and some solid musical progression. The title track “Bad Vibrations” sets the bar for how most of the record will go. It is loud and wants to be heard. There is a whole new energy in this record that we have not seen from ADTR in years. If you want more of the hardcore tracks, then songs like “Paranoia,” “Bullfight” and “Reassemble” will be right up your alley. If you are not that into more traditional hardcore music, you are in luck. One of the great things about “Bad Vibrations” is that it has some variety. ADTR branches out to pop-punk territory with “Naivety,” and then there are tracks like “Forgive and Forget” that slow things down a bit. ADTR has always been a band that has been great at mixing it up a little bit, which keeps things fresh, especially when listening to this album.
Lyrically, the main theme to take away here is that this is ADTR’s apology album to fans. This is not a sad apology though. It seems as though ADTR is pissed about the legal struggles that held them back and are using that anger to fuel most the tracks on the record. In songs like “Bullfight” and “Justified,” we can hear the band trying to move on and get past everything. Essentially, most tracks are about starting over and building the band back up. Then in tracks like “Forgive and Forget,” it really is about what the title of the track says. The band is asking fans to forgive and forget the recent years and just move on. “Bad Vibrations” is the bands way of moving past everything.
Final Score: 4.5/5
“Bad Vibrations” is a great record from beginning to end. While it is a lot of fun to listen to, even more so in the deluxe version with the bonus tracks, it is not the best album ADTR has put out. It can feel like a long and drawn out apology at times, but maybe for people who have not listened to anything from ADTR since “Homesick” will not notice it. There are plenty of tracks that people can have fun listening to. It is just that “Bad Vibrations” is a record carrying a heavy burden of trying to get out of the shadow of its last two predecessors, which it does to some extent.