We Came As Romans: Andy Glass (bass), left, Dave Stephens (vocals), Kyle Pavone (vocals), Lou Cotton (guitar), Joshua Moore (lyrics, guitar) and Eric Choi (drums). (Douglas Sonders)
We Came as Romans has done it by the book, building its audience show by show and tour by tour. And now, the metalcore six-piece that formed in the hallways of Troy Athens High School has a Top 10 album to show for its efforts.
That album is “Tracing Back Roots,” the group’s third full-length studio effort. It was released in July when the band was on the road entertaining main stage crowds at the Vans Warped Tour. The album’s first week sales topped 26,000 units, earning it a No. 8 debut on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, the band’s best showing yet.
“I wasn’t anticipating it or expecting it, I was moreso just hoping for it,” says Joshua Moore, the band’s songwriter and guitarist, on the phone last week from a tour stop in Jacksonville, Fla. “Honestly to just do better than the last release is kind of always the goal.”
Mission accomplished. The band’s previous effort, 2011’s “Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be,” launched at No. 21 on the Billboard chart. And that was a huge leap forward from the group’s 2009 debut, “To Plant a Seed,” which peaked on the chart at No. 175.
We Came as Romans has risen from playing shows around the area to regional concerts to opening slots on shows to its own national headlining tours. The band plays a homecoming show Sunday at Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit.
The band formed in 2005, but it took some drastic lineup shifts to get things right. There are now enough ex-members to form a second We Came as Romans lineup.
“It sounds really bad, but we just kept getting rid of the members that didn’t have the drive and dedication that the rest of the band had,” says Moore, who has been on the road, more or less, since 2008. “And eventually we ended up with a band full of people that had that drive and dedication, and we were able to work hard and make something of it.”
We Came as Romans’ first two albums were recorded at a studio in Indiana with producer Joey Sturgis, but for “Tracing Back Roots,” the group hooked up with producer John Feldmann in California. Feldmann has worked on dozens of key alt-rock records, including Story of the Year’s “Page Avenue,” which made We Came as Romans vocalist Dave Stephens want to sing, and albums by the Used, which were big influences on guitarist Lou Cotton. (Moore knew Feldmann’s work with ’90s ska/punk outfit Goldfinger from hearing the band’s “Superman” on the soundtrack to the first “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” video game.)
“Tracing Back Roots” contains plenty of We Came as Romans’ trademark heavy riffs and soft-loud dynamics — which were also on display in the band’s playful cover of the Wanted’s “Glad You Came” — but has more of an emphasis on melody than previous WCAR albums.
Following the band’s Warped Tour stint — its second go-round with the traveling punk-rock fest but first on the main stage — We Came as Romans had five weeks off, its longest break since revving up. Since, the band has been working the road, and following Sunday’s Saint Andrews show, the band heads off to Europe, Australia and Singapore.
“We’ve just been trying to hit everywhere we can go,” Moore says. And by the book, the band’s profile continues to get a little bit bigger every step along the way.
We Came as Romans
With Silverstein; Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!; the Color Morale and Dangerkids
6:30 p.m. Sunday
Saint Andrew’s Hall
431 E. Congress St., Detroit