Four Year Strong have steadily asserted themselves as one of the stronger bands around the alternative rock/pop-punk scene, and even though I completely dug In Some Way, Shape, Or Form, many thought the band was losing their edge – falling into a state of hard-rocking normalcy. This all coincided with the departure of Josh Lyford (synthesizers) and rumors of the band’s sudden breakup, but here we are about a year later and the remaining members are back and better than ever with their new EP, Go Down In History.
With a release date of July 22nd (TOMORROW!) slated, the band has teamed up with Billboard.com to release a full front-to-back stream of their brand new material a day early. To this point we’ve already heard tracks Tread Lightly and Living Proof Of A Stubborn Youth, both signifying a technically bolstered sound compared to earlier power-chord fueled jams, and this glorious hype is confirmed by listening to Go Down In History in full – something I’ve already done about 10 times this morning.
Again, while I still don’t have a problem with In Some Way, Shape, Or Form, the album did make it seem like Four Year Strong was struggling to find an identity without Lyford’s prevalent synth sounds. Go Down In History is completely the opposite, boasting raw confidence and an almost aggressive attitude led by absolutely furious riffage from guitarists Dan O’Connor and Alan Day. Not only are these two belting out simultaneous vocals, but they elevate the band’s status into that of progressive metal bands known for more technically sound guitar shredding over chordal bashing. Who are these guys and what have they done with Four Year Strong? Scratch that – I don’t care, because I’m lovin’ this new swagger too damn much.
I love Four Year Strong because while their music has that righteously rockin’ vibe, their lyrics are typically more uplifting and in favor of appreciating life – not whining about it. Go Down In History has the pick-me-up potential to get you through the weakest work day, most strenuous workout, or lamest mood possible, and proves that Four Year Strong are not only one of the strongest alt rock/pop-punk bands in the game, but now they’re one of the top acts to beat.
My personal favorite track is Living Proof Of A Stubborn Youth, but what do you think about Four Year Strong‘s revamped sound? Is it a welcomed change, or are you still wishing for their softer synth material?