After their discovery by Skillet lead singer John Cooper and subsequent signing to Atlantic/Word Records via Hear It Loud, a partnership helmed by Cooper, manager Zach Kelm and attorney Todd Rubenstein in 2011, the hard-hitting breakthrough rock band We As Human released their eponymously named major label debut album in 2013. The album was recorded in Los Angeles under the direction of esteemed producer Howard Benson (Skillet, Three Days Grace, My Chemical Romance).
Comprised of lead singer Justin Cordle and band members Jake Jones, Justin Forshaw, Adam Osborne, and Dave Draggoo, We As Human stays true to their core appeal with this album, yet add levels of energy and intensity that will take even the most jaded listeners by storm.
The album features special appearances from John Cooper of Skillet and Lacey Sturm, formerly of Flyleaf.
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In an era where rock-and-roll has long since left center stage or gone the direction of hollowed-out lyrics slicked over with pop sensibilities, the playing field for solid new rock debuts is more or less a wasteland. Enter We As Human, a five piece rock group who has spent years honing their craft through independent releases and plenty of time on stage. That dedication eventually led to discovery by Skillet frontman John Cooper, who steered major record label Atlantic Records their way.
The result is We As Human's self titled debut, released under the Hear It Loud imprint (a partnership of Cooper, attorney Todd Rubenstein and longtime Skillet manager Zachary Kelm of Q Management Group). In addition to their own impressive arsenal of skills, the We As Human guys drew on talents from other rock industry greats, including producer Howard Benson, who has produced previous cornerstone releases from bands like P.O.D., Skillet, RED and Flyleaf.
Mainstream single "Strike Back" launches the album with a blistering self-confident anthem, the words of the chorus growling over grinding guitars: "I've always said the bigger they are, the harder they fall / You're going to suffer / hit me, I'll hit back harder."
"Dead Man" (previously heard on their initial EP release with Atlantic) channels that initial aggression in another direction, giving voice to the violent struggle with our vices and capturing the way that grace kills who we were in order to bring us to life.
"Bring To Life" slows down enough to create space for the brilliant songwriting to shine, beginning in the restrained verse and building into the earnest and hopeful chorus with the words "You bring to life all that is broken / You can turn the tide before it's too late / 'Cause I'm not afraid of anything when You burn like a fire inside."
Follow-up track "Lay Me Down" offers a haunting intro establishing a darker edge that threads its way throughout the track, underpinning the theme of a desperate need for recreation.
Although the hard-hitting vocals of frontman Justin Cordle can certainly hold their own, the band chose to draw on the talent of some rock vocalists who have become legendary in their own right. "Zombie" features John Cooper of Skillet, a suitable pairing given Cooper's role in discovering and fostering We As Human's talent. This hook-heavy monster serves as a wake-up call to an apathetic society, carried by the powerhouse pairing of Cordle and Cooper's gritty, militant vocals.
CHR single "We Fall Apart" provides the softest moment on the album, exposing the vulnerability of humanity while simultaneously serving as a reminder that no one is alone in their brokenness. That theme is captured in the simple phrase, "we're so imperfect / but so worth it because we're not alone."
"Take The Bullets Away" features the second guest vocalist, Lacey Sturm (formerly of Flyleaf). This is a highlight track in an already solid album, pulling out a guitar solo that's strong without being overbearing and making the most of Sturm's signature scalding screams. The song serves as a plea to God to remove the weapons of our own self destruction, pleading, "Am I worthless, am I filthy? Am I too far gone for the remedy?" A slightly more hopeful voice shapes "Taking Life," a song building from an unusual rhythm in the verses reminiscent of a slightly updated form of rapcore.
Another song from their initial EP, "Sever," heralds the moment of separation from internal sickness, musically framed by the in-your-face guitar riffs provided by guitarists Justin Forshaw and Jake Jones. The album wraps up with a kind of mission statement in "I Stand." In a set of confidently bold statements, the band makes it clear that they're standing for truth in a broken world instead of seeking any recognition the world could offer.
On their major label debut, We As Human steps up to own their identity with a confidence and intensity rarely found even in long-established bands. Their self titled release is a perfect storm of searing riffs, dynamic vocals, and aggression channeled into lyrics fueling the struggle of death to self and rebirth to life. This band will be easy to watch; their explosive energy and bold stand on truth are going to make them impossible to ignore.
Great Message and Great Music Combine on This Album| Posted March 05, 2014
We As Human’s first full-length effort did not disappoint those with high expectations from their EP.
After relentlessly touring with industry big-shots such as RED and Skillet, WAH returned to their Nashville studio with a good deal of material for their next project.
Lead singer, Justin Cordel, spoke of the hardship of touring and constantly balancing the demands of the general-market shows with the expectations of the Christian-music scene in the rock anthem “I Stand”:
Why should I be ashamed
To talk about the God that I know is real
Or about how sick I think it is when babies are killed
Or the fact: evolution is just stupid and wrong
I didn't come from a monkey but you believe what you want
I believe that Jesus died and He is risen again
I believe that He will burn this world down in the end
I don't care what you think about me or what I say
I mean every word, why should I be ashamed
The song also highlights the band’s fearless profession of that which they hold dear. WAH has no problem taking on major social issues: abortion, evolution, and Christ’s supremacy are all taken head-on in the opening lines of “I Stand”. This is social conscience is also evident in the runaway hit “Zombie” which features Skillet’s John Cooper.
In the hard-hitting scream-a-thon, Cordel and Cooper address society’s reliance on medications. The convicting lyrics include: “Wake up the zombie / So long over medicated / Thinking nothing's wrong / Cause you're so sedated”.
Alight with heavy guitar rifts and strong percussion (provided by Justin Foreshaw, Jake Jones, Dave Draggoo, and Adam Osborn respectively), this album certainly carries the influences of their hard-rock tour-mates.
True to form, this album casts a long emotional shadow. “Take the Bullets Away” (which features Lacy Strurm [formerly of Flyleaf] as a backup vocalist) was inspired by a family member’s experience in a bad relationship, which left her on an emotional precipice – even considering suicide. The lyrics “Am I worthless / Am I filthy / Am I too far gone for a remedy” capture grief succinctly, and have inspired more than one teary-eyed fan profession of how the tune has helped them through a valley in their life. (For the deep-in fan, this song marries Skillet’s “Last Night” beautifully.)
Drawing from their lives and the Bible, WAH has managed to align personal trauma with beautiful melodies in songs such as Sever which addresses the loss of a child to cancer ("Cancer in my bones / You won't let me go") with a marked duality paring it against Satan (“I cut the ties / I've been betrayed / My flesh and soul are still at war”).
The entire album reads like this, and it is great; it carries my seal of approval.
Should the reader be interested in learning more about the band, please check social media. They’ve active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Phenom| Posted February 04, 2014
We as Human is an amazing band. Recently saw them at Uprise festival and they KILLED it.
This album is pretty diverse and masterful. A lot of bands like We as Human have to be careful not to let all their songs sound the same especially with their freshman release but they did an awesome job with that. I love their style and the true rock-and-roll displayed throughout the album. They kept it real and vulnerable. Half a star off for lacking uniqueness or anything special or wowing but it's a great album and I still listen to it :)
One word: AMAZING!| Posted January 02, 2014
Their debut self-titled album is absolutely amazing! We As Human has a powerful message through their hard rock music! I have had a chance to meet these guys and they are just down to earth!
Vocalist Justin Cordle's powerful voice adds excitement to match the music. His on stage performance is absolutely awesome as well! The entire band has so much energy and they already have control over the crowd, something that a newer band may not have right away!
The single Strike Back is absolutely amazing! The beginning of the song pumps you up for the rest of the song and Cordle's voice just explodes in!
Thisalbum has two songs that feature two other powerful vocalists: John Cooper of Skillet on the song Zombie and former Flyleaf vocalist Lacey Sturm on the song Take The Bullets Away. Zombie isan excellent song with plenty of "jamming and head banging" energy! Take The Bullets Away is another piece on this album that features intense scene setting that catches you by surprise with Sturm's amazing voice! Her voice made my spine tingle when I heard it on this piece!
The entire album is excellent! It is definitely a must have for fans of Skillet, Flyleaf or RED!
They will be touring on The Roadshow with Skillet, Third Day and others beginning on Jan. 9th! If you haven't already, CHECK OUT WE AS HUMAN! Or try to make one of the shows on The Roadshow Tour!
Gr8 new find!| Posted September 12, 2013
This band was found and supported by John Cooper of Skillet. After hearing them open for Red in Flint, MI in the Spring of 2013, I understand why he was so hyped about these guys. I believe this band will surpasss the popularity of Skillet and perhaps Red. Incredible clean vocals mixed with tough riffs and alround positive and real lyrics make this quintet "ones to watch". If you like hard rock genre and want the depth of spiritual lyrics, this is your band. I am definately a "Humanoid" (fan of the band, as chosen by the band on facebook).
Wonderful| Posted July 06, 2013 I saw We As Human in concert 4 days before this release, and their live show left quite an impression, leading me to buy this album. After listening to it once, I thought it was fantastic. The album is nearly flawless. My only complaint is that it feels too short, leading me to play it again and again. The guest performances are great, especially Lacey’s screaming in Take the Bullets Away. Overall, it’s a wonderful album, and I recommend it to all rock fans. We As Human is defiantly a band to keep your eyes on.
Nice debut| Posted June 26, 2013
We As Human could have picked a better release date for their debut as this solid offering will struggle to overcome the shadow of Skillet's "Rise." It is fitting though that the band John discovered and promoted gets this release date. With this release, WAH delivers a fresh rock album but struggles to be unique. They have a solid future ahead of them, and this CD is just the beginning. It is a nice start and delivers a solid message, slick riffs, searing vocals, and solid layering/structuring. There is room for improvement, but WAH is on their way.
High Energy Hard Rock| Posted June 19, 2013
We As Human is a band that only popped up on my radar recently thanks to the endless tweets that the members of Skillet keep tweeting about them. I got around to listening to the early album stream of the band's label debut album and it has it's highs and lows. The big high of the album is that you can feel the energy the band has all the way through the album. They want to make an impression, and they certainly do. However, the sound they present feels a tad bit generic at points, deloving into a sound akin to Skillet's Comatose album. We As Human has a good future ahead of them. If they can keep their energy levels up and continue to evolve their sound into something unique then I'll be here to listen.