Gwen Stacy - The Life I Know
Release Date: February 5, 2008
Record Label: Ferret
In the comic book world, Gwen Stacy was Spiderman’s first true love. Despite many obstacles and being on-again/off-again for years, they eventually were together for good and began to plan their wedding. Of course, that never happened, as she died while being saved by Spiderman after being thrown off a roof by the Green Goblin. The sudden stop in velocity from falling broke her neck and killed her.
Thankfully, our story about the real life Gwen Stacy is much happier. The Indianapolis quartet is the one snapping necks with their brand of metalcore. After self-releasing an album and a couple of demos and going through multiple line up changes the past few years, the band was snatched up by Ferret Records in late 2007. With producers Brian McTernan and Paul Leavitt on board, Gwen Stacy came out of the studio with The Life I Know, which features twelve tracks that bleed passion, aggression, and genuineness.
These Hoosiers aren’t reinventing the metalcore wheel; they aren’t trying to be something they’re not. Your preconceived notions about the band are probably correct. They run in the same vein as Norma Jean, Underoath, and the like. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a sucker for this genre, but I’m just as quick as to dispose certain albums as I am to enjoy them. What keeps Gwen Stacy from falling into The Beringer Abyss (trademark pending) is the fact they are very good at eliciting a variety of emotions while listening to the record. They aren’t faking it. They’re not in it for the fashion, the girls, etc. Gwen Stacy has a message to share with everyone.
It doesn’t hurt either that The Life I Know is full of energy, catchiness, and guitars that beat you senseless. Opening track “The Path To Certainty” pogos relentlessly in your membrane, as the scream-sing duel vocals of Cole Wallace and Brent Schindler will remind you of Underoath. And even though the duel vocals work very well, they don’t appear very often on the debut, with the majority of tracks being carried by Wallace’s vicious yet very clean growl. Positive and uplifting messages are rampant throughout tracks like “If We Live Right, We Can’t Die Wrong,” which also features a completely infectious opening riff, and “What Will Happen If I Hit Enter,” while “The Fear In Your Eyes” will leave you feeling like you’ve just been hit by Osi Umenyiora.
And if Wallace’s voice is what carries the majority of tracks, then drummer T.J. Sego is the backbone. Throughout The Life I Know, his skills are very impressive, with my personal favorite being the small drum solo in “Falling From The Fence.” The album takes a detour with “Sleeping In The Train Yard,” a seven minute track that blends an electronic ambiance with the familiar metal sound. “Gone Fishing. See You In A Year” follows as the knock out punch, with splintering riffs pacing the tune.
Alas, if you’re not a fan of the genre (i.e. Underoath, etc.), then you’re more than likely to not check this out. But if this type of sound floats your boat, Gwen Stacy will be your new favorite band within seconds. And of course with any album like this, you are bound to find inconsistencies, such as the album losing steam after “Sleeping In The Train Yard” and just the fact that the sound is just not that original anymore. But if you need something to kick your current music rotation in the ass, then The Life I Know is what you want to check out. I mean, who needs Spider-Man when you can just take out the Green Goblin with a sick breakdown?
i haven't seen this band play for years. but i guess i should pick up their cd when they play here in a couple weekends.
they used to play in fort wayne a ton with the likes of the chinese express, and saints never surrender (now on blood&ink, and only once have had a story here.. ha..)... but, i'll have to check out some of their new stuff before they hit bloomington--with haste the day, who i also haven't seen in like 3 years.
i really like this cd, the low/pounding/slow/crisp breakdowns always keep me coming back to it on the old ipod...plus the singer comes across as pretty genuine even if he does have a cheesy positive message sometimes - "i was born with two first names" is pretty pummeling, but not as good as stuff from their EP like "jeremiah buys a field"
i had a lot of expectations for this cd, and i'm still not very sure if i like it a lot or just a little.
i absolutely love their EP, I Believe In Humility. "Jeremiah Buys A Field" is one of my favorite songs of all time, easily. So the EP was going to be hard to top for me. This was a pretty good review, I agree they aren't the most original band of all time, but I like them more than I like most metalcore. I would advise everyone to look for the bands earlier works, the 2006 demos, and the EP. The EP has poor quality but if you can look beyond that it's stellar.
Good review. I really like this cd and have been listening to it alot. I usually don't like this genre except for Underoath and He is Legend, but this band is good. The vocals and the lyrics are what pull me in. This is what all the shitty metalcore bands on Solid state should sound like.
Not the most original album, but it's better than most metalcore releases these days. The production is pretty stellar. "Sleeping in the Train Yard" sounds like it was pulled straight from a Norma Jean CD.
You make my boring days interesting, trying to fathom how on hell you think your score is justified.
At less you acknowledge this is unoriginal but I guess you don't gasp the extent of it.
Till next time Drew.