Produced by Goldfinger’s John Feldmann, and managing to become one of the first post-hardcore records of the 2000’s to be certified Gold, Story Of The Year’s 2003 album Page Avenue succeeds both as a debut record, and as a collection of strong, anthemic songs that still manage to captivate the listener even 15 years after its release.
Anchored by the strong vocals of Dan Marsala, Story Of The Year was a part of the wave of post-hardcore/emo/alt-rock bands of the early 2000’s that signed to major labels. Interestingly, they were passed over by many of these labels, including Drive-Thru Records – home to many of these same bands. Page Avenue, their 2003 debut, spurred the band to success, however. Managing to support the likes of Linkin Park on tour in support of the record, it was buoyed by iconic songs like the Joe Hahn-directed video for “Anthem Of Our Dying Day”, and of course “Until The Day I Die”.
This is one of those records that’s more than just the singles + a bunch of filler, though. Album opener “And The Hero Will Drown” really sets the tone early, with its sing-a-long quality being evened out by bursts of post-hardcore fury. The should-have-been massive crossover hit “Sidewalks” is the closest thing the record has to a ballad, incorporating strings into a song that’s made for the big stage, and tracks like “Razorblades” (possibly the record’s best song overall) and “Falling Down” show off the band’s relative diversity by showing off their pop-punk and hardcore influences, respectively – though operating inside an alternative rock framework throughout.
While Story Of The Year would manage to spread the wings on subsequent albums, especially its follow-up, In The Wake Of Determination, Page Avenue is a record that manages to still be a great listen today. That’s not just nostalgia talking, either.