Review Summary: A new vocalist for a band can sometimes cripple their career. Pressure The Hinges doesn't exactly have Haste The Day falling into that category as its touches of melody and atmosphere hint at an exciting new direction for the band.
There are a large amount of albums in 2007 I’m looking/was looking forward to. However, Haste The Day’s Pressure The Hinges
really was not one of them. During past listening sessions to the band I enjoyed their instrumentals despite the breakdowns being a bit excessive at times. Vocals were a bit odd for me. Ex Haste the Day vocalist Jimmy Ryan no doubt had an interesting and unique voice yet for some reason it never made a lasting impression on me. His tortured screaming was extremely contrasted with the singing in the choruses as things constantly sounded forced. It was obvious there were plenty of bands that pulled this sound off better. However, when I found out he had left and they had a new vocalist I felt inspired to at least listen to a new song. I figured they could have grown as musicians and the new vocals could be more up my alley. Well I was right about almost everything, as growth is very apparent here. Despite lacking some originality they still pull off what I consider their best record to date thanks to their improved song construction, more pleasing vocal styles, and a tasteful melodic edge with atmospheric moments.
Right off the bat they open with one of those 70 second instrumental, let’s build up the drama tracks. *insert complaint here* Well let’s see here, we could call it a filler track to make the album longer but that kind of goes out the window when there are 13 tracks here and the record falls just short of 50 minutes total. Than there’s the whole minor detail that the song actually flows very nicely into the title track in “Pressure Hinges”
. It immediately hints towards a new direction of the band but their riff filled and intensely screamed verses are still intact. The chorus of course brings out the catchiness factor with the hook “What are you afraid of/are you scared you’re not alone”
After an interesting and almost atmospheric brief lead, the band leads into a very awkward sounding breakdown. Awkward in a good way, as things sound pretty technical before they break from the fury into an acoustic bridge. The opener sure sets up for an interesting record as it introduces a slightly new, more melodic and even atmospheric sound for a band many thought would lose their fire from Jimmy departing.
If anything the fire only burns stronger, as the band puts forth a slightly more polished effort than before. Don’t get the wrong impression, as this is still a fairly crushing record, but the melodic undertones are very present here. “The Minor Prophets”
opens with clean guitar and vocals until some yelling kicks into a heavier verse. Surprisingly the singing persists, which immediately hints toward a more melodic side. Throughout most of the track the only screaming is layered atop of singing. This certainly would not have worked in previous albums but it does here. They have learned how to embrace this style without completing sacrificing their older tones. “White Collar”
continues to show progression, opening with a typical screamed verse. Its half time feel works very well as does the mean pinch harmonic, keeping the variation up. When the chorus hits a melodic lead in the background along with the singing creates an interesting atmosphere. While they repeat both the verse and chorus again, they take the song onto a new path, with a modified riff leading into a great solo. Nothing too fancy but it sure captures a perfect amount of emotion. Eventually things slow down to a singing bridge revealing another different section. More vocal layers come out over a modified chorus and riff as clearly the band has stepped up in terms of song construction.
The progression in general for song writing has taken a huge step up. Most of the songs on the record are over four minutes, which is a fairly hefty mark for the metalcore genre. Despite the length, things never seem to spoil as the group confidently displays diverse sections. Riffs and solos when used always fit their respective songs tremendously. Lyrically the album follows the trend of progression set by the instrumentals. The sung chorus in “Needles”
is a good one, “You’ve left behind, hopes and dreams/From a life left incomplete/You walked away from everything you believed in, when you wanted to change the world”
. The hooky ohhh’s work well during the shouted pre chorus once more locking in the bands newer melodic edge. Another step up is on the breakdowns, as here they introduce a tremolo picked riff which adds an atmosphere to the section as opposed to a straight, boring chug. Things are crafted extremely in a solid fashion. This is very praseworthy since the band is showing progression and revealing a slightly different style of their music.
hammers down something new as well, sounding very Underoath influenced in terms of the Define the Great Line instrumentals. Influenced is the key word as they do not rip off their label mates. The spoken vocals add a nice touch to the intro over the very tranquil guitar work. Things pick up a bit but this is by far one of the more calm tracks on the record. It is dominantly instrumental, showing an industrial and electronic influence. Regardless it is something new that works extremely well in the middle of the record. The last half of the record shows their melodic and atmospheric touches in full effect. “Stitches”
is another dominantly sung track but still ends up extremely enjoyable. Drums deliver some great variations and fills here, keeping things very interesting. Vocal harmonies are done to perfection and compliment the guitar work properly. Riffs have a softer touch here which adds to an intriguing atmosphere. During the remarkably quiet bridge vocals contain a tremendously memorable harmony as they sing “Five words; is it really that hard to say?/You’re worth more than this”
. Despite a new vocalist being in play, Haste The Day has continued their same positive message.
The record ends fairly strong, with two fairly quick songs in “Vertigo”
and “ Akeldema”
. Both show the new touches the band has put on their classic sound. The singing sounds extremely powerful on both of these songs as things have not let up a bit for the ending. There is definitely a noticeable amount of older school Haste The Day present here but things sound a bit more polished and slightly less raw and balls to the wall than before. Nevertheless, the songs do not come across as watered down due to the flowing riffs and strong vocal tradeoffs. “Eremus”
is a very soft acoustic instrumental which would hint at an epic ending thanks to the violin and other string melodies. “Chorus of Angels”
delivers that grand ending anticipated. The mid tempo opening with the ohh’s in the background sounds very epic and manages not to come across as cheesy. The chorus keeps things slow and melodic as the song continues nicely. The usage of more string melodies was a pleasant surprise as the band takes some samples from the introductory track and incorporates them here. Eventually things pick up in terms of heaviness, but the atmosphere and grand ambiance stays very present. Eventually they strike the last note of the piece and the introduction track comes back to fade out the record.
I confess this record surprised me quite a bit. Haste The Day was always a band I saw potential in but I could never really get into a full groove with them. That all changed on Pressure The Hinges
as they show a slightly new side to them. Their new vocalist delivers a hell of a performance vocally. He also writes some fantastic lyrics on top of it. Musically the band is at a new level, as their riffs, solos, and overall construction has improved drastically. Things sound more inspired, more melodic, and even create some pleasant atmospheres. Breakdowns come across very well thought out as they are used in moderation and compliment their tracks nicely. The band is also not afraid to have their songs drift down a new path as they expose listeners to various sections. There is no doubt that Pressure The Hinges
has the band moving in a new direction. However, this change is certainly for the better as far as I am concerned as their sound seems infinitely more polished and thought out than before. The group has managed to do this without watering down their sound and without over producing anything, which is quite a remarkable feat. Full of variety and new sounds, Haste The Day’s newest release should satisfy older fans and even draw in some new ones as it seems to get better with every listen. Anyone who says no Jimmy no Haste The Day is missing out big time.
Final Rating: A strong 3.5/5