It’s a reunion like no other. Acceptance’s debut album, Phantoms, was released in 2005 and, until now, was their only full-length release. After a series of setbacks, including an album leak six months prior to release and a mass recall of the album due to malware, the band called it quits in 2007. Regardless, the band’s fanbase continued to grow over the years. Now, ten years after disbanding, the boys are back. The band’s sophomore album, Colliding by Design, is set to be released February 24th via Rise Records, and even Joe Jonas is psyched about the band’s return:
The debut single, “Diagram of a Simple Man,” starts the album like a giant waking from its slumber. It’s a slow, gradual start, and yet there is a looming sense of power. Just then, as the chorus comes crashing in, it’s clear how powerful of an album this will be. And while the debut single sets sonic expectations for the album, title track “Colliding by Design” establishes the album’s lyrical themes. Thematically, the lyrics touch upon the members’ experiences around the world over the last decade. Moreover, the lyrics attempt to “touch on the idea that different backgrounds and beliefs can connect as one.”
Tracks “Come Closer” and “Goodbye” maintain a high sense of energy and enthusiasm; infectious melodies combined with powerful lyrics highlight just how much the band has developed. The maturation of the band’s sound is surprising to say the least, given that the last new music the band put out was some 12-odd years ago.
Not taking any time to slow down, follow-up songs “73” and “Fire and Rain” provide a powerful one-two punch. The two tracks are easily the most dynamic and energetic songs that the album has to offer. In a matter of seconds, “73” goes from slow-burning ballad to stadium rocker. “Fire and Rain” is gripping, with lead singer Jason Vena’s polished chorus vocals supplying a contagious energy. Melodic guitar-work from guitarists Christian McAlhaney and Kaylan Cloyd further boosts the track’s appeal. If you’re to listen to only one song from the album, this is the one to play, and play, and play again.
As the album enters its final arc, it closes just as powerfully as it began. “Haunted” is, well, haunting – it’s clear to see why it was chosen as the album’s follow-up single. Meanwhile, closing track “Golden” seems the most formulaic of the album, but not in any negative sense of the word. Rather, the song’s structure serves to amplify the lyrical suggestions that life can be boiled down to predictable chemistry and physical interactions. Ultimately, the song culminates in a simple and final prediction that life “gets better, better than this.” An accurate statement if you choose to listen to the album after its Friday release. Acceptance does more than just pick up from where they left off with Colliding by Design, they’ve embraced the way of the phoenix: rising from the ashes to create something magnificent and new.