Close Your Eyes – Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts

I love Fall; it’s quite easily my favorite season. Multi-color leaves and crisp winds give a brilliant atmosphere. There’s also the days where it’s gray and dreary, with fog and cold rain wetting the luminous leaves. I love those days especially; they leave me feeling quite artistic for some reason, bringing out the more poetic side of me. Unfortunately my hectic schedule has prohibited me from devoting a lot time to creative writing, but rather to research papers. Regardless of my absence, I have been listening to music as usual, so that when I was provided with free time, I could review it!

My most recent task has been ’ latest album Empty Hearts and Heavy Hearts. I’m not going to lie; it took me several listens before I came to appreciate it. It comes across as quite bland. However, over time I found that I enjoyed it significantly more than I thought I would on the fourth listen. Its melodies and anthem-like atmosphere fit quite will with the recent seasonal changes. The melodies are bright and colorful, like the leaves falling from the trees, while the fast-paced aggressiveness of the music goes with the frequent foggy days. All of this to say, beginning to end, it’s a heartfelt and well-orchestrated album from .

I’m still not sure what to genre to group this into, so for those that are coming into this with unknowing ears, I see it as a cross between and . There are soaring melodies in every song, and seldom is there ever a breakdown chug fest. Matter of fact, there are essentially none. Occasionally there are heavier broken down sections, but it is for the most part just fast strumming from these boys. It’s really a breath of fresh air, due to the overwhelming amount of breakdowns thrown at us these days. The guitars really give the album a positive and upbeat atmosphere.

The drumming is what most brings me to my comparison of . The rapid snare hits, quick fills, and burst double kick methods give is a hardcore edge to it, especially in the tracks, “Injustice” and “Wolves”. The drum-work is actually quite impressive if you listen to it intently. All too often we focus on the parts of fast double bass and crash symbols in songs, while there are many more levels to it that we tend to miss. It’s easy to overlook here as well, but it’s there if you listen, and I enjoy it thoroughly.

Vocals are where the true heart of this album is shown. As I briefly touched upon above, each song on this album feels like an anthem. This is an adjective I actually am borrowed from my boss-man Lee, but it’s honestly the best way I can think to describe it. The clean singing is powerful, and provides concert goers with some perfect sing-along chants, but still nothing overly cliché. My favorite singing moment is towards the end of the final song, “Heavy Hearts”, where the song slows down and we hear the true dexterity of his voice. The screams and cleans are split about 50/50, giving the album some meat to go along with the melodies.

As I said before, I was not expecting at all to give this a good score, but as you can tell it’s improved greatly. It really only has a couple drawbacks. The first is that I worry about its lasting value. I can’t really make a conclusion now, but I’m not sure it will be an album I return every day or week, like I do some. Some people may not be patient enough to allow it to grow on them, though that is more on their problem than the album’s. The final issue is that it’s not anything revolutionary to my ears. These are all minor complaints though. I am very pleased with this release, and I think is one of the most legitimate bands on Victory Records.

Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts

4.0/5

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