Like Linkin Park, St. Louis' Story of the Year sidesteps subtlety and drives home each and every point with ear-piercing screams, amp-shredding riffs, and world-in-crisis lyrics. Its third album, The Black Swan, kicks off with "Choose Your Fate," an anti-Bush larynx-ripper that culminates in a bludgeoning "Liar!" delivered by singer Dan Marsala as if his girlfriend just told him she's busy Friday night. He takes everything personally. He's even emotionally tethered to "Angel in the Swamp"'s domestic-abuse victim and the couple at the center of the biracial-relationship drama "We're Not Gonna Make It." And when Story of the Year slows things down, you worry that Marsala's embittered, broken heart won't hold out.
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