Listening to Fort Collins-based We Are William gives a refreshing perspective on just how difficult it is to play progressive metal, and the band deserves props.
Fans of heavy bands are spoiled by the musicianship, songwriting and talent on the best recordings by the best artists. System of a Down, Coheed and Cambria and Symphony X are full of amazing musicians who have all made remarkable music. And though We Are William may not have reached the peak of “metal Everest” on their self-titled, first full-length album, the effort is admirable and the band shows a lot of potential.
The band’s vocalist Sebastian Lawrence is a good growler, an underrated skill, and flashes of greatness can be heard on “Purging” and especially on the complex and crunchy “Oceanic,” the band’s first video and single. It’s clear why the band uses him (again, his growling is terrific) – his vocal prowess is like a climber getting stronger in order to reach the aforementioned Everest summit. Think of this record as a journey, not the finish.
Snippets of really good songwriting appear in “Oceanic,” (see the newly release video below) and on tracks like “Bring Me Flowers” and “SunEater,” which starts with a keyboard and builds into a melodic thrasher. Catchy choruses are hard to find amid all the noise, as progressive music often doesn’t follow a traditional songwriting style, though at times the songs feel unfocused instead of avant-garde or experimental.
But the band has talent, works hard and has the chops to play this demanding style of music. Successful full band recordings seem to be as much of a money issue as they are a talent issue, and We Are William indeed self-produced their debut. Given a label and producer for songwriting help and ample time in the studio, We Are William will certainly be a Colorado metal band to watch as they climb towards their full potential.