Review Summary: Heartist shows us that being generic isn't always a bad thing.
With generic being used to describe almost every new metalcore act these days, bands are trying their hardest to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Many of these attempts at breaking the generic ways of metalcore are hit and miss, and mainly end up making the bands that attempt them fall flat on their faces. Every once in a while though, a band comes along that doesn't necessarily break new ground, but concisely pull off what they're attempting. Enter Heartist, California's five-piece metalcore act. They happen to fall right into this category. While their style of metalcore isn't reinventing the wheel as we know it, they achieve what they're going for, and they do it well. Even if the band could be labeled as "generic", is it really a bad thing?
Heartist kicks off this EP with the track "Disconnected". Now let me start by saying, the formula has been used before. You'll notice it the second you hear the song. Heavy guitars, chugging, low growls. But when the vocalist hits that first high note, you realize that this isn't your run-of-the-mill metalcore song. Bryce Beckley truly has range. Phenomenal range, to be exact. While his vocals are on the high-pitched side, I would never describe him as being "whiny" or "annoying". While the lyrics aren't fantastic, they're never uncomfortable or cringe-worthy, and with his vocal performance being as incredible as it is, it's forgivable. His delivery is flawless, and he keeps it interesting by really taking advantage of his range. The choruses are infectious, especially in tracks like "Rhinestone" and "Disconnected". The screams on the other hand, are what add the generic aspect to this band. Luckily, the vocalist strays away from going with the same low guttural growls the whole time by throwing in some shouts and high-pitched yells throughout the songs. While the cleans clearly steal the show, the harsh vocals never ruin a song and actually add a nice touch to most of the tracks. Overall, the vocal performance is incredible and really makes this band stand out from their peers.
Chug, chug, chug. While I'm sure most of you think that's all this band have to offer, the guitarists actually show a lot of skill. When the guitars aren't chugging along (which actually happens a lot less often than you would think) they're playing technical and interesting riffs. Even when a breakdown is used, it's used tastefully. The breakdowns never drag down a song and are used very rarely. With the exception of most of the title track, the guitarists do their job nicely and simply have a solid performance. The bassist never steps out of his comfort zone, and just plays along with everyone else. You might occasionally hear a nice little line from him, but for the most part, he's inaudible. The drumming on this EP though, is nothing short of superb. When he's not tying a track together perfectly with his tight, solid playing, he's spicing up the track with interesting fills that really showcase his talent. Heartist is a solid band musically, and the musicianship on this EP really shows great potential.
"Nothing You Didn't Deserve" may be classified as generic by some. Like I said, it's not reinventing the wheel or anything, but for the most part it's a concise effort from a talented group. It's enjoyable and it's solid all around. And while it's not the most original, it's impressive nonetheless. Don't blow this EP off for the simple fact that it's been done before. Go into it with an open mind. It definitely should not be ignored.