More Than Just Music

Metalcore band We Came as Romans isn’t just yelling, but telling kids to believe in themselves

In 2008, the members of We Came as Romans knew they were at a crossroads. Their debut EP

n 2008, the members of We Came as Romans knew they were at a crossroads. Their debut EP Dreams was either going to get the band off the ground, or the band was going to crash and burn, and the group members would get on with their lives.

It did what it was supposed to. And these days, that sort of uncertainty doesn’t surround We Came as Romans anymore. With two successful full-length albums, 2009’s To Plant a Seed and 2011’s Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be, they’ll release their third, Tracing Back Roots, next month.

In fact, the metalcore band now grounds its entire existence in certainty — as a band, but also as they preach happiness and self-assuredness in their songs.

“We had a really good start with To Plant a Seed,” guitarist Joshua Moore said in a recent phone interview. “But once you start, you have to sustain and you have to be moving forward.”

That album was about establishing themselves, he says. “It was our first full length, and we had to, I guess, really appeal to people. ... And with Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be, we really focused more on establishing a sound that is our band, that if someone were to hear it and not be able to see what was playing on the iPod, they would hear it and say ‘Oh, that’s We Came as Romans. I know their sound.’ ”

The album carries forward many of the stylistic elements of the two earlier releases. The group employs the tag team of gravelly screamed lyrics from vocalist Dave Stephens and Kyle Pavone’s smoothly sung vocals. It’s a mix of mayhem and melody, rumbling between grinding, lower-register guitar parts and slightly lighter, more melodic sections.

What also defines We Came as Romans is the positive messages in their songs — something that’s fairly rare in the metalcore/aggressive rock genres. Their message starts at the album title.

“[Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be is] about figuring out how to be happy with the life that you’ve chosen, trying to be the person that you want to be and figuring out how to be happy with that and how to retain that happiness, how to not constantly be searching for a different thing that’s going to make you happy based on the day of the week,” Moore says. “You need to figure out how to be happy with your life, not live it day by day, trying to see how the days go. It’s about making solid changes in your life and really realizing, as the title says, understanding the person that you are, who you’re growing to be and who you are at that moment.”

Moore said he has no doubts that fans of We Came as Romans recognize the positive messages in the songs, even if the band’s aggressive style of music might suggest the dark issues the lyrics seek to resolve.

“To our fans, I think the lyrics are something really important,” he says. “I think that’s part of the reason why they really grab onto the band and really stick and support us. I think that they kind of find a breath of fresh air in the lyrics, something different than a lot of bands are doing. And I think it’s really important in teenagers’ lives.” ν

We Came as Romans with Like Moths to Flames, Upon a Burning Body, Crown the Empire, Set It Off and Ice Nine Kills • Thu, June 13, at 6 pm • Knitting Factory • 919 W. Sprague Ave. • $16.50 • All-ages •

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