Our Last Night – Age Of Ignorance – Review

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Ever since Our Last Night dumbfoundedly created their post-hardcore magnum opus “The Ghosts Among Us,” the band has grown up physically and matured what they perceive to be musically. The question on many people’s mind is why do all hardcore bands, in one way or another, look to make softer and less hectic music over time. “The Ghosts Among Us” was a perfect balance of melodic riffage, dual sing/scream vocals, and lyrical one-liners filled with wonderfully quizzical metaphors. But recent efforts “We Will All Evolve” and the first singles from 2012′s “Age Of Ignorance” have chosen to become more direct lyrically and musically, settling for a rock structure and anthem repetition to impact their listeners instead. I had noticed this trend going into the band’s latest  record and became nervous that it might have their music become a glazed-over, radio-friendly shadow of their former selves.

It’s true that with every new release from an artist there is, on average, two years of touring. You play songs over and over again until your creative mind hemorrhages and when you go back into the studio the last thing you want to do is record the same thing you just recorded two years prior, so that you can be miserable playing repeat for another two years. This is where we find Our Last Night with their latest record “Age Of Ignorance.

Thanks to AltarTV’s studio videos with the band, we learned several things. Trevor would be trying his hand at singing with this record, Matt would forgo his normal complex one-lined metaphor songwriting for more straight-forward lyrics, and finally they would do whatever they could to experiement with lighter sounds and charming melody. All of which I secretly despised at first because it seemed as though another quality post-hardcore act had bit the dust in favor of rock with pop-rock undertones.

The album’s tracks like the familiar heavy single “Liberate Me” and opener ”Fate” are the only remaining bridges between OLN now and their previous melodic post-hardcore material. Other forays of the record reach their hands into different styles like the inclusion of the band’s first acoustic song, “Voices” (which sings of corrupt authority figures taking away your voice), the electronic-synth beat and dubstep solo in “Invincible,” as well as the emotional words on the existential song “Reason To Live;” ie. “Ever since that day, you made those feelings go away. I’ve needed someone to show me that there’s a reason to live, that there’s a reason to love again.”  It all reminds me of bands like The Used (“Artwork”) and Saosin (“In Search Of Solid Ground”) when their sound settled and they were pumping out rock anthems to spread their appeal. It doesn’t exactly help when Trevor is doing his best Cove Reber impression through out most of the record. You will notice that that record, despite having a slight corny edge and a heavy, less-jagged Story Of The Year-esque sound, Our Last Night may have stepped away from one genre, but they have raised the bar for rock several notches. The clutch melodic fretwork on tracks like “A Sun That Never Sets” and “Liberate Me” shouldn’t go unnoticed, but much of the technical guitars

Lyrically, “Age Of Ignorance” does take a step towards more relevant topics such as the political motivations clearly broadcast on “Age Of Ignorance,” “Voices,” and “Conspiracy” which really shape the album’s theme of growing up and discovering the illusion that those in control don’t always have a clue what they’re doing. The more impacting of which (“Voices”) belts out potent lyrical messages like, “And while the wealthy cheat, we’re on our hands and knees. We give the most but get the least” to the tune of acoustic hues and orchestral/soloing backgrounds. This is quite a divergence from their “girl issues” of previous efforts, but they still find time to mention the women in their experiences in outings like bouncy rock track “Send Me To Hell” and moving “Reason To Live.

All in all Our Last Night are a very talented group of guys whether they are singing or screaming, shredding out melodic riffage or strumming a pretty-sounding basic acoustic chord; the band always puts their skill to the test. Sure with the release of “Age Of Ignorance” they will have certainly alienated all of their post-hardcore fans (absolutely) and a trend of letting their producers take the reigns of their music a little too much has started to appear, but OLN hasn’t sacrificed their message or integrity while making mass-appealing rock music with this effort. If anything, they have put all other popular rock artists on notice that the typical garbage that flies on the radio isn’t enough anymore. We need music that is technical, emotional, and evolving, and “Age Of Ignorance” isn’t missing any of those. [Staff]

Score: 3.5 (out of 5)

Release Date: August 21st, 2012
Record Label: Epitaph Records
Genre: Rock
RIYL: Story Of The Year, The Used, Saosin

Track Listing:
1. Fate
2. Send Me To Hell
3. Age Of Ignorance
4. Reason To Love
5. Liberate Me
6. Voices
7. Conspiracy
8. Enemy
9. Invincible
10. A Sun That Never Sets

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