Alec Reviews Music: We Came As Romans expand sound with ‘Cold Like War’

Alec Erickson

With a career spanning a dozen years, the only thing left to do is grow.

Album cover for We Came As Romans' Cold Like War
Photo Courtesy: iTunes

For We Came As Romans, they are solidly cemented as one of the frontrunners in the Metalcore and post-hardcore scenes. Each album the outfit has released is different enough from the others because it adds a certain level of nuance to listening to the band’s discography. The band does not ever get to comfortable making music, as they are always changing. With a new label, their latest release “Cold Like War” is a continuation of their growth to this point.

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From Troy, Michigan the post-hardcore band initially formed in 2005. Forming initially while most the members were in High School as The Emergency, it was not until some lineup changes and a year later did the band become We Came As Romans. The band’s debut album “To Plant a Seed” was not released until 2009. By that time, the band had gone through even more changes in the lineup. The only remaining founders of the band are Joshua Moore and Dave Stephens. Since the release of their debut, the band found a relative strong fan base early on and each release such as “Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be” and “Tracing Back Roots” and their self-titled all landing high up on the us charts.  Things are nowhere near slowing down, especially with the release of their fifth-studio album “Cold Like War.”

“Cold Like War” is a 10-track record that clocks in at around 40 minutes in length. From front to back this is a hardcore record with not that much filler. While there is a lot of anger and passion many tracks, We Came As Romans are not afraid to experiment with more synths and slow things down on a few tracks when it feels right. This is a record that feels like it has been a long time in the making and it really reflects when you listen to it.

Musically, breakdowns are the name of the game when it comes down to it on “Cold Like War.” Starting us off are tracks like “Vultures with Clipped Wings” and “Cold Like War,” which really open with these massive guitar riffs, standout melodies and some more orchestral layers here and there. Overall, things start strong and only build up from there as this is a record that does not drag its feet for a moment. Tracks like “Lost in the Moment” and “Promise Me” serve as these energetic yet more somber tracks that really try to evoke emotion with progression of the layers that are mixed in. When things slow down on tracks like “Learning to Survive,” it is with a purpose and does not seem out of place, which is the most important aspect. Everything about this record seems to be tailored exactly how the band wants it to be and it works, as it shows how much they have grown out of that raw and rough stage when they released “To Plant a Seed.”

Lyrically, this is where We Came As Romans have not changed a whole lot. There is a lot more balance on this record between clean and unclean vocals, but there are still singing about hope, brotherhood and getting over adversity. This record seems to focus more on conflict, whether that is the conflict between love and hate, anger to sadness or any other juxtaposed topic. Songs like “Two Hands” focus more on relationships and the struggles that come when it is toxic, while songs like “Wasted Age” deal with the coming to terms with aging. There are a lot of things that that are handled a bit more gracefully than one might assume on a hardcore album when it comes down to it. We Came As Romans have always been able to tackle harder subjects on their records and “Cold Like War” is no different than the rest.

Should you listen to it? Yes!

There are few post-hardcore records that will leave you wanting more after your first listen through and “Cold Like War” is one of those few. We hear how We Came as Romans’ constant adaption to new styles of music make things refreshing, energetic and fun to listen to and that is what happens on their fifth album. You will be hard pressed to find something you do not like on “Cold Like War” and you certainly will find something to relate to.

Band info:

  • The band has seven former members and currently has six in its lineup.
  • Their album “Tracing Back Roots” was their highest charting record, peaking at number eight in the states.
  • The band has only released two extended plays, both back in 2008.

Collegian Reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @CTV_Ace.