Search - Story of the Year :: The Black Swan

The Black Swan
Story of the Year
The Black Swan
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

This St. Louis-bred five piece's Epitaph debut is an artistic triumph in every sense. The beloved, million-selling band's third studio album is their finest, building on the strength of past accomplishments. Known for thei...  more »

      
   
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CD Details

All Artists: Story of the Year
Title: The Black Swan
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Epitaph
Original Release Date: 1/1/2008
Re-Release Date: 4/22/2008
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, American Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 045778692828, 8714092692822

Synopsis

Product Description
This St. Louis-bred five piece's Epitaph debut is an artistic triumph in every sense. The beloved, million-selling band's third studio album is their finest, building on the strength of past accomplishments. Known for their kinetic live shows and ridiculously catchy songs, Story Of The Year have always been famously ballsy in their mixing of glossy production, big rock hooks, and honeyed melodies with searing metal riffs and intense screaming. The band has garnered a passionate following, thanks in large part to lead singer Dan Marsala's signature vocal style and heartfelt lyrics.

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CD Reviews

A step in the right direction
Nick Colosi | Chesterland, OH, USA | 04/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"So there's this formula that a lot of bands use, it goes like this.

1.) Breakout album achieves much notice.
2.) Sophomore album tries a bunch of new stuff, which creates new fans but also deters some of the old fans.
3.) Third album takes a step back and satisfies both the new and old fans.

This happens to a lot of bands and it happened to Story of the Year, not that that's a bad thing. This CD basically continues the journey that "In the Wake of Determination" began, while also reflecting on the original roots of the band that lie in "Page Avenue" This is a huge step up from their sophomore release, and it took me a while to figure out why, but I think I finally got it. Whenever I listened to "In the Wake..." I couldn't help but get the impression that the band didn't know where they wanted to take their sound, all they knew is that they didn't want to write another "Page Avenue" So that CD was all over the place in it's effort to get something new.

Almost three years later we get a much more professionally done "In the Wake of Determination" The CD opens up with possibly the rawest display of Dan's vocals ever, but then we transition over and the sound is cleaner, the songs are well constructed, it's not as blunt and 'TURN THE AMP UP TO 11 RAWR!' as its predecessor, which is good. Althogether this album goes down smooth and is a pretty easy listen to a fan of either of the other SOTY albums.

Music wise, it's pretty much the same SOTY. We have the obvious emphasis on guitars and those catchy-as-ever hooks, solos, and breakdowns. The guitars here are just as amazing as ever if you've been following this band since their beginnings, like I have. Again we see the bass being totally ignored (Grrr...), in fact, the only song where I could consciously stop and say "Oh yeah, there's the bass guitar" was "Cannonball" Lyrically, Dan is as brilliant as he has ever been, with lyrics that stretch back to the days of "Page Avenue" when the songs would actually make me ponder my life through that he was saying (Let's face it, with songs like "Meathead" and "We Don't Care Anymore," the lyrics on "In the Wake" were not very good.) I don't hold it against them that they're not 'trying new stuff' but that might have something to do with the fact that I bought "The Bright Lights of America" the same day as this CD.

So yeah, if you liked them before, you'll still like them, if you didn't like them before, you're not gonna like them this time around. This is still the band we know, and in my case, love, and they continue to be the frontrunners in this kind of rock with its obvious metal/punk/alternative/other stuff influences, so if you're into that sort of thing, this is definitely for you. Highlights on the CD are "Choose Your Fate," "Cannonball," maybe "Tell Me," and the best track on the CD in my opinion and best track SOTY has ever written, "Message to the World"

Oh man... and I had intended this to be a short review."
Determination Avenue
Aaron Warlock | Chicago, IL | 04/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It would be easy to criticize Story of the Year for not trying anything new on their third album and even easier to call them out for practicing the same by-the-numbers post-hardcore music that many of their peers abandoned around 2004. But considering my implicit love of the band's work since their inception, I can't help but write this review on an angle.

Those conversant with Story's last two albums already know exactly what to expect from The Black Swan: huge, metal-influenced guitar riffs, wailing solos, uptempo punk-inspired song structures, melodramatic vocals, soaring choruses and hardcore breakdowns. In fact much of the album should sound instantly familiar; the intros to "Wake Up" and "The Antidote" are nearly identical to Page Avenue's "Dive Right In" and In the Wake of Determination's "Sleep."

Incidentally, the band's sound has changed so little since their last album that there really isn't much else to write about. I'll let the old axiom provide the bottom line: If you weren't a Story fan before, the Black Swan isn't going to make you one now. But if you dug Page Avenue and Determination, and don't mind a band employing the same formula on each album, The Black Swan certainly delivers. If Pennywise can get away with writing the same album every few years while sacrificing absolutely no credibility, there's no reason their label-mates Story of the Year can't."
Epitaph takes on Story of the Year
Ryan Matthews | Clifton, NJ, USA | 04/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Story of the Year has broken the silence with `The Black Swan', an album finely polished and artistically designed and produced. With Epitaph taking on this album, hit singles are clearly at a loss, but quality is at an all-time high. Story of the Year has become an interesting phenomena in the evolution of post hardcore/emo music. `Page Avenue' was a marketable album and a mainstay on local radios and MTV... Their mainstream success subsided a bit with the release of `In The Wake Of Determination', though still receiving attention with the demands of Maverick records and first single "We Don't Care Anymore." Now, with their third disc, SOTY has chosen to leave the label that has sported the likes of Alanis Morissette, Madonna and the Deftones and become a high profile band on an indie label. In many ways, Story of the Year is taking a step back in order to take a step forward.

I'll be the first to admit that I was skeptical of some of the songs at first. A few of the tracks on the latter half of the album sounded like B-sides from `In The Wake...' The sound was very similar, but the catchiness wasn't as prolific. However, after a couple listens and a peek at the booklet, the album became bigger than what I expected it to be. They aren't straying from what's made them successful, and for that, I give them 4 stars, probably closer to 4 1/2. Lyrically, the album is brilliant. It's a paradox of life and death and vocally showcases the exceptional talent of front man, Dan Marsala.
The one song that has me scratching my head is "Message To The World." It reminds me too much of "Five Against The World", a song that has a fantastic concept but a very simplistic and questionable chorus. That song aside, I guarantee you if you are a fan of their prior music, this album will scratch your itch.

Standout Tracks:
"Choose Your Fate"
"Wake Up"
"The Antidote"
"Tell Me (P.A.C.)"
"Apathy Is A Deathwish"
"Terrified"

I can't compare this disc to 'Page Avenue' because their style and intentions were so different at the time. Musically, I find that it falls just short of 'In The Wake Of Determintion.' However, lyrically, the band has undoubtedly peaked. I think they write some of the most fluent, poetic, heartfelt lyrics you'll find in the music business today, and this album only gives support to my opinion. Those of you looking for an album that you can really connect with and feel the passion in the band, I highly recommend this.

Grade: A-
"