Stories surprised everyone with their release of “Under Haze”, marking the first single in over a year and a complete transformation in their sound. The Australian quintet haven’t been making much noise since their signing to UNFD in 2014, but they’ve come back with a lot to show for it on their debut album. They’ve changed their sound and have in a sense reinvented themselves, but did it work out?
Their new sound has lead them to metalcore / post-hardcore that is reminiscent of its early beginnings, and their focus on songwriting makes it a refreshing and enjoyable listen. If they would have went the same direction that they went in their Void EP, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much. The change in sound was needed, and they made the most of it. You could say they took quite a risk with this album, but this style suits them well and I would argue that they sound the best they ever have here.
I personally was weary about this album after hearing the first single, but after giving it a full listen you can really appreciate the music they created. They’ve made an album that is an instant standout among all other metalcore releases this year. You’re not getting a recycled sound that you could hear from anyone else, they’ve gone backwards to the roots of the genre and have sprung up its most integral parts. Stories drew from great influences, but further added their own ideas and concepts to make this a release that feels whole.
The Youth to Become is such an impressive release because it has key things that most albums are missing nowadays. First, the song structures are stellar, meaning they’ve actually taken the time to write out each track. They don’t follow a formula, they do what fits the song. Take “Alone in the Fallout” for instance, it has the perfect amount of tension and build-up, and the heavy ending gives enough without giving too much to perfectly wrap up the song. I was also skeptical about the vocals, and this song alone ceased all of my doubts. Second, the emotion and effort put forth by the band gives you the connection to their music that has been absent from a lot of releases in recent years. You can hear and feel the pain in the vocals in certain songs like “Highwater”, and the instrumentally dark exploration surrounds you and encases you, like the ending of “Under Haze”.
Stories struck gold in their pursuit of better music, and I stand by them on this release. To see a band change everything about their style and still come out with a worthwhile album gives me hope for the future of this genre. A lot of bands can’t hold up to that, even when there is a significant change they have to adapt to (getting a new vocalist, for example). The Youth to Become is the start of what will hopefully become a long career for this relatively new band, and as it seems anything could happen. Who would’ve thought a good album could come from UNFD in 2015?