For many, A Day To Remember are a band that can do no wrong. Having honed their crunching riff-heavy, hardcore/pop-punk style in recent years, the Ocala, Florida collective find themselves being considered future festival headliners. As they reach album number six, ‘Bad Vibrations’, it could be suggested that the quintet are in a position to stick to a winning formula and hit the road. Nevertheless, the eleven songs on offer here sees a band eager to refine their “trademark” sound.
Kicking off with ‘Bad Vibrations’, and ‘Paranoia’, there is a strong sense of destruction and rage, a trait that proves to be a constant. The title track sees Jeremy McKinnon’s domineering screams battling against thick instrumentation with ‘Paranoia’ being carried by a claustrophobic undertone and the bands familiar anthemic quality. Whilst ‘Naivety’ eases on the aggression, serving as a harmonious pop-punk number despite McKinnon’s lyrical honesty; “this is me, no apologies”. It is that honesty and aggression that moulds the spine of ‘Bad Vibrations’.
The bands well-documented legal troubles with their former label peer their heads up throughout as McKinnon and company express their frustrations; ‘Bullfight’ sees him state “why can’t we say the things we would” and being misunderstood. Despite all their resentment (see “Reassemble’ and ‘Turn Off The Radio’), ‘Bad Vibrations’ equally carries itself with defiance. For example, album highlight ‘Justified’ sees McKinnon proclaiming "do you fear me? the righteous ones. Can you hear me? The lonely ones” before growling “you’re going to burn your debt”. It’s clear that through all their trial and tribulations, ADTR have become stronger. Album finale ‘Forgive and Forget’ solidifies this as they look to put the past behind them.
It’s no doubt that this is ADTR’s heaviest output to date; both musically and lyrically. Yet, they’re still capable of producing monstrous hooks as ‘We Got This’ revitalise’s the feel-good vibe through its bouncy pop-punk tone. Like much of their back catalogue, there is something on offer for everyone.
As cliché as it might sound, A Day To Remember really do show intent on ‘Bad Vibrations’ and pull it off in a consistent and confident manner. Reinvigorated and ready to take over the world, A Day To Remember are back on the charge with a varied and well-balanced record.
‘Bad Vibrations’ by A Day To Remember is released on September 2nd on ADTR Records and distributed by Epitaph Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)