Although Headstorm undoubtedly features some excellent tracks–“Stepping Stones,” “Drowned Out,” “Outrun Reality,” and “Greyscale” easily carry this record to repeated spins–it doesn’t quite live up their boisterous Victory debut, The Years Ahead. With less intensity, breakdowns, and anthem-like sequences, the band’s latest release feels almost watered down at times.
Though the previously noted tracks are certainly exceptions, there are simply too many tracks that feel lacking. For example, why “So Far Gone” was chosen to open the record is beyond me; it’s mostly forgettable.
Though there’s disappointment to be noted here, Abandoned by Bears do demonstrate a marketable talent in blending pop punk melodies with hardcore energy and aggression. It’s just a shame that the coalescence previously emphasized on past recordings doesn’t seem as prominent here on their sophomore Victory release. Headstorm exhilarates about half the time, so there’s something worth hearing here; it’s just not a shutout.